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District Energy System

How the Flood Affected DES


First Avenue, Nashville, TennesseeOn Saturday, May 1, 2010, most everyone in the middle Tennessee area was watching local television coverage of the severe thunderstorm warnings, tornado watches and flood watches. The storms continued throughout the night and all the next day without letting up. Record rainfall was recorded in the Nashville area on both Saturday and Sunday, with more than 6 inches both days. Creeks and rivers flooded neighborhoods, roads and the interstates surrounding Nashville. This made it nearly impossible to navigate to and around the city.

On Sunday afternoon, as the flood waters started spilling over the banks of the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville, DES' steam system was shut down to avoid potential safety issues, such as water hammers.

Sunday night, water spilled onto First Avenue, filling the energy distribution tunnels on Broadway.

By Monday night, the river finally crested. Water reached as far as the Country Music Hall of Fame on Fourth Avenue.

During this time, the Energy Generation Facility was never in jeopardy of being flooded, as the chilled water system continued to supply cooling to the DES customers.

When the water receded and the operators of the DES were allowed access to the area, approximately 800,000 gallons of water were pumped out of the tunnels over the next two and a half days. After all structures, piping, insulation and electrical components were inspected, boilers were lit at the Energy Generation Facility to restore steam service to the DES customers. Condensate in the steam lines had to be evacuated slowly, and the wet insulation had to be dried as the system came up to operating pressure. At approximately 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 8, the steam system was back to normal.

The following statement was issued by the Metro DES liaison: "We greatly appreciate the outstanding work of CEPS (Constellation Energy Projects & Services Group) in working to restore service to district energy system customers in very difficult conditions. A job 'very well done' is extended to the staff and crew for their dedicated efforts."