By Courtney Pigman
WILLIAMSON – The Williamson Mayor and Veolia Project Manager discuss preventative measures and action steps being taken to ensure that Williamson is protected in the event of an emergency situation.
Mayor Robert Carlton said, “In addition to all the county emergency services available from the county, the City of Williamson is blessed to have full time personnel in the police and fire departments for protection in the event of an emergency. This is becoming more and more rare in rural parts of the state. The city has fire engines, a ladder truck and other emergency fire equipment. There is an ordinary reserve of fresh water of around 2,000,000 gallons that is gravity fed so it flows even without electricity. The emergency service building has multiple hand held radios that reach to Charleston without needing any additional equipment to do so. The fire department building has an automatic start up generator capable of supplying the entire fire department building with electricity.”
Veolia water provides emergency services for the city of Williamson. Jason Allen, Veolia Project Manager said, “The staff at Veolia, along with myself, provide emergency services for the City of Williamson 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”
Veolia will assist in repairs and waste water collection. “These services include water distribution system repairs to the water system along with waste water collection system issues that may occur throughout the system,” Allen said.
In the event of severe weather, Veolia is also available to provide assistance. Allen said, “Veolia also provides services to the City of Williamson streets during bad weather such as snow removal and street flooding conditions.”
Allen stressed the importance of preventative maintenance to ensure equipment is properly working should it be needed in an emergency situation. “Also included is the operation of the floodwall, flood gates, and flood pump stations during high water events. We perform regular preventive maintenance and have a work order system in place to stay on top of things before an emergency event would take place,” Allen said.
Carlton explained how the floodwall protects the city of Williamson. “The flood wall has three levels of protection. Initially the backup water prevention valves would be closed to prevent water backing up into the city through the fresh water drains below the wall. As needed the flood wall gates are closed. Thereafter rain and drain water trapped in the city by the wall is pumped outside the wall by large pumps to prevent it from accumulating in the city. When the flood wall is closed all railroad traffic ceases due to larger gates that cover the railroad tracks. City owned buildings where Emergency shelters can be opened are the fire department, the Fieldhouse ,the swimming pool building, and City Hall to name but a few. There is also a hospital and multiple pharmacies within the floodwalls,” Carlton explained.
If needed, Veolia is also able to partner with Veolia operations in other communities to assist in emergency events. “Our emergency action plan also allows us to reach out to other Veolia operations in an event that additional emergency services and or equipment that would need to be provided,” Allen explained.
The Veolia office can be contacted Monday through Friday from the hours or 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. The telephone number is 304-235-1626. If Veolia Emergency services are needed after hours, residents should dial 911.
(Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part series.)
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2279.)