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Critical Environment: Problems and Solutions

Posted by Carlton Griffis on Tue, 05 Mar, 2019 @ 09:51 PM

Episode 1

Problem: Positioning a critical generator adjacent to the building in the parking lot proved costly as the location is is an area which seasonally holds water.

12 years ago, a fortune 100 Company purchased a  generator, switch gear and mechanical infrastructure positioning near the data center in a seemingly perfect and unused location in the parking lot. As the seasons change, rain begins - A severe problem arises: The 'Perfect' location was vacant prior to installation due to the water pooling that occurs after rain - a problem overlooked during planning.

The customer was unable to have the equipment serviced, as techs chose not to stand in water and do electrical work. To compound the issue, adjacent to the property is a natural river that produces seasonal spawning salmon. This geographical location prohibited any draining into the river since the water pooled in the parking area would accumulate hydrocarbons (oil, diesel fuel, lubricants, etc.).


Customer Reaction: Consisting of 7 years of various engineers (including Geotechs, Geophysical Engineers) and tens of thousands of dollars in research, a work order reaches Alcatex stating "Water Pooling".


Alcatex Solution: Alcatex recommended discontinuation of spending funds trying to find out where the water was coming from, and to move into a reactive state.


1. Make a safe atmosphere for techs to work in by eliminating shock hazards

2. Protect spawning Salmon waters from being contaminated by hydrocarbons

Alcatex designed and engineered a catch basin to eliminate water pooling, a hydrocarbon detection system to prevent hazardous contamination to the river next door to the building, and as this is a mission-critical site, the solution was N+1.


Follow up:

The work was done prior to the rainy season, and as weather set in, there was no longer water pooling. The catch basin acted as it should, and the hydrocarbon detection system disallowed any contamination into the nearby river. 

Planning is an often overlooked and rushed issue in critical facilities, and can cause catastrophic problems that might not only affect the business overlooking it, but also the ecosystem around them. 

Topics: energy efficient, Critical Facilities Maintenance, Generator