"Squirrel-proof" water plant for Tampa and TECO - WNCN: News, Weather

"Squirrel-proof" water plant for Tampa and TECO

Posted: Updated:
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - Crews working for Tampa Electric have been busy at the Tippin Water Treatment Facility in Tampa for the last few weeks.

They're burying power lines and doing a number of other infrastructure upgrades. It's all part of a plan to "squirrel-proof" the electrical system.

Back in February, a squirrel is believed to have chewed through a power line at the plant. That started a small fire, and a chain reaction of events led to a power failure, that then resulted in a boil water notice for the city that last for a few days.

Related Content: Squirrel causes power outage

"It was a combination of events and the squirrel was likely the first domino to fall," said TECO spokesperson, Cherie Jacobs.

The city and TECO both hired an electrical expert to assess the system and figure out what needed to be fixed. Work on the project started in September. TECO is investing $1.2 million in upgrades. The city is pitching in an additional $500,000.

"What it means is that it will be more reliable, in terms of our treatment and transmission of our potable water," said city water department director, Brad Baird.

In addition to burying power lines, animal protection is being added to power lines, and there are upgrades at two substations that feed power to the water plant. The animal protection will keep squirrels and other rodents from chewing on the lines.

"It had never happened before and Tampa Electric and the city of Tampa are working together to invest in improvements to make sure this doesn't happen again," Jacobs said.

There are other benefits to burying the power lines. Those lines will now be able to withstand hurricane force winds.

And while this particular situation, where the power failure caused a boil water notice, is unusual, Jacobs said rodents are responsible for 20% of power outages.

"They like metal things. They like aluminum things. They like a lot of our equipment," Jacobs said.

TECO estimates the work will be completed by the end of the year. The project is currently a month ahead of schedule.
   

Do you tweet? We do! Join us on http://8.wfla.com/1dsYrjS

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Are background checks enough for Florida teachers?

    Are background checks enough for Florida teachers?

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:41 PM EDT2014-04-18 23:41:35 GMT

    In an effort to weed out potential perverts, Florida law requires fingerprinting and criminal background checks before school districts hire employees that will have any contact with children.

    In an effort to weed out potential perverts, Florida law requires fingerprinting and criminal background checks before school districts hire employees that will have any contact with children.


  • Pasco mix-up sends registration notices to wrong drivers

    Pasco mix-up sends registration notices to wrong drivers

    Friday, April 18 2014 6:02 PM EDT2014-04-18 22:02:51 GMT
    The vehicle registration information of hundreds of drivers in Pasco County were sent to the wrong person in a mix-up that led to the firing of a contractor.
    The vehicle registration information of hundreds of drivers in Pasco County were sent to the wrong person in a mix-up that led to the firing of a contractor.
  • Flushable wipes, not so flushable says Tampa's wastewater officials

    Flushable wipes, not so flushable says Tampa's wastewater officials

    Friday, April 18 2014 3:52 PM EDT2014-04-18 19:52:20 GMT
    Personal wipes, baby wipes, face wipes, flushable wipes. They are all designed to help us deal with delicate issues. But the wipes themselves are actually pretty sturdy and increasingly local water systems are finding they are creating costly problems.
    Personal wipes, baby wipes, face wipes, flushable wipes. They are all designed to help us deal with delicate issues. But the wipes themselves are actually pretty sturdy and increasingly local water systems are finding they are creating costly problems.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Pope Francis, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter

    Pope Francis, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter

    Sunday, April 20 2014 6:42 AM EDT2014-04-20 10:42:36 GMT
    Pope Francis is celebrating Christianity's most joyous day, Easter Sunday, under sunny skies in St. Peter's Square.
    Celebrating Easter Sunday, Christianity's most joyous and hopeful day, Pope Francis prayed for peace in Ukraine and Syria and for an end to the terrorist attacks in Nigeria that have targeted so many Christians.
  • Shootout in eastern Ukraine leaves 1 dead

    Shootout in eastern Ukraine leaves 1 dead

    Sunday, April 20 2014 6:22 AM EDT2014-04-20 10:22:49 GMT
    The Ukrainian and Russian governments are reporting a shootout at a checkpoint set up by pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine that has left one person dead and others hospitalized with gunshot wounds.
    The Ukrainian and Russian governments are reporting a shootout at a checkpoint set up by pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine that has left one person dead and others hospitalized with gunshot wounds.
  • 4 French journalists home after long Syrian ordeal

    4 French journalists home after long Syrian ordeal

    Sunday, April 20 2014 5:42 AM EDT2014-04-20 09:42:34 GMT
    Four French journalists kidnapped and held for 10 months in Syria have returned home to France.
    Four French journalists kidnapped and held for 10 months in Syria returned home Sunday to joyful families, a presidential welcome and questions about how France managed to obtain their freedom from Islamic extremists.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.