Do we have a problem with our water supply? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I just learned that the generators for our small town's water wells are powered by natural gas (PG&E) brought down from Canada. What keeps the gas pressurized? I guess I had better start shopping for water tanks.

-- Homeschooling Grandma (, April 03, 1999



I don't know your town's circumstances, but I would have thought that they would have a local storage facility for their natural gas -- or is it a "continuous" flow of gas all the way down from Canada to the town's water wells?

In any case, the wells probably pump the water into a holding tank, from which it's distributed to the residents. So the question you want to ask the town officials is: if the electricity goes out, how long will it be before we run out of water?

In my town, the answer was simple: two days. And when we asked what the backup plan was, the answer was: hope and pray the electricity doesn't go out for more than two days. For those of us with our own wells (mine is about to get a new solar-powered water pump), this wasn't a big deal; but for the people who live in the center of town, it was pretty sobering news.

-- Ed Yourdon (, April 03, 1999.

I don't know if this will help but here is a link from British Columbia Gas in Canada.

BC GAS: Year 2000: Overview

Good luck

-- Brian (, April 03, 1999.

Natural gas distribution relies on huge compressors every 40 miles or so on the main distribution lines. Most of these are electric powered and rely on remote control SCADA systems linked by either microwave or telephone landline. The system will depressurize slowly if the compressors stop for more than a day. As an aside, there is NO federal regulation or oversight for these natural gas pipelines regarding Y2K. Not even a sham NERC-like organization. The actual overall Y2K status of this system is a total mystery.

-- RD. ->H (, April 03, 1999.

If it's PG&E controlled, be extra vigilent, and make back-up plans.


-- Diane J. Squire (, April 03, 1999.

Ashton & I went to a BigWig high-powered meeting where industry heads very cautiously voiced some of their concerns about Y2K. They were so nervous and careful in their wording it was comical. The gas honcho said that there are many many "regulators" around the city that brought the 400lbs of pressure in the gas lines down to 2lbs for the gas to safely enter homes. These "regulators" are NOT Y2K compliant. Also, they depend upon electricity.

The contingency plan, which is their actual plan: they will have a human standing at every "regulator" at rollover to manually deal with the event. They, as other industries, are calling ex-workers out of retirement to help.

Again, a big concern for the first week of 2000: uncontrollable FIRES. Gas line explosions are indeed a distinct possibility. The firemen will be extraordinarily busy and will be stretched too thin to get to all the fires.

We are hoping the weather around Rollover is not below freezing. There is concern that, if electricity goes out, there will be many frozen + breaking pipes. The city needs water, water pressure, and intact pipes to fight the fires. Unfortunately, each org has been compartmentalizing its concerns, and at the meeting, when the implications of interconnectivity and interdependence and some of the ripples were first being realized, the industry + .gov heads started getting overwhelmed at the emerging possibilities.

Too bad they don't study, research, read more about Y2K. Only ONE person, a retired Council member brought back to C0-Chair the Y2K Council, had actually read the Senate Report.

Another fire concern was the candles, lamps, fuel storage, generators, etc -- all the "new" equipment people would be buying and trying to fumble and use and set up for the first time in the cold dark and not operate safely or correctly. Many people are buying generators and keeping them "shrink-wrapped," unused, in the hope that nothing will happen and they can return them & get $$ back on January 3, 2000. Cityzzzzzns are not testing, practicing, drilling with their new methods and tools.

Too bad we can't make this Forum mandatory reading! ~

Ashton & Leska in Cascadia

PS The bank official was the *most* nervous and refused to answer the Mayor's questions. His neck got beet red, forehead veins bulging, and it was uncomfortably obvious that he was prevaricating and weaseling.

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-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, April 03, 1999.

Leska, I envy you that you were able to attend such a meeting. Nothing like that in my neck of the woods (Michigan).

-- Gearhead (, April 03, 1999.

Gearhead, none of the people there, the creme de la creme of .gov etc, were 1/1000 as informed as posters on this Forum. It was discouraging. The Coucil was trying its best but is boxed into a tiny confine of approach, following old standby long-drawn-out methods of problem-looking. What we got out of it was the reinforced gut-sock that weeples will be on their own. We did become privvy to some technical points that we didn't know before, but many engineer-types on this Forum know all about these things, like gas line pressure regulators and shipping/trucking/pipeline issues.

We did pipe in some urgent facts, but we as little people are not given much floor/table time. However, we plug away behind the scenes and "pitchfork the locals'" behinds ahead of time. That *has* gotten one city ready and one city sluggishly on the move, one step forward, three steps backwards. The odd thing is, we are hermits and this is not our forte. It is funny to see us go in our scrubs to these biz-suit pow-wows and see the fear the bigwigs regard us with. But they did listen and did actually prioritize their biggest concerns based on the info we gave them. But will they *act* on any of it? Doubt it, certainly not in time. Prepping and praying ...

Ashton & Leska in Cascadia

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-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, April 03, 1999.

Hi Grandma....It seems many before this response have addressed the natural gas aspect of your question. I would like to empower you and anyone else (concerning the water issue) with a helpful annecdote.

Of all the possibilities many of us are exercising to secure long term availability of water for ourselves, the only way I'm aware of that will be the absolute best bet is a solar array (4 solar panels) and a d.c. water well pump, a pump controller and a float shut off switch.

It depends on the depth of the well.....600 ft. deep will require a 222 watt d.c. water well pump, (approx 1,750.00 $) a pump controller (approx 450.00 $), a float switch (approx 35 $) and (4) 75 watt solar panels (ranging from 400-500 $ apeice depending on warranty) is about 4,300.00 $ Water is more valuable than money.

Anyway, I dont think there is a run on these items whatsoever and that the idea alone may promote a better sense of security...esp. if you act on it. For Grandma in particular...If you know your community and have some influence, you could suggest all chipping in to lower costs.

I hope this idea can be of use for you all.


-- wjt (, April 03, 1999.


I'm surprised at the answer you got. the feds require that a back-up power source be on the premises of each water supplier. Or so an acquaintance of mine told me, as he runs a water system for a city, I tend to believe him.


-- Chuck, a night driver (, April 03, 1999.

Thanks for the input. We live in a town of about 5000 in N Calif. So far there has been little said about Y2K and what our town plans to do. I think it is time to start writing letters to the editor and making phone calls to city officials. We did have one bad storm a few years back when the power was out for 3 days and the water was ok. Three days is nowhere enough. We have been doing the bottles of water everwhere we can find space. We can also store several weeks of drinking water in our moterhome. We have a large fishpond and can use that water to flush toilets (it's all downhill to the sewage plant). We have a 4yo and 5yo so we have to take care of their needs first.

-- Homeschooling Grandma (, April 03, 1999.

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