Memphis Light, Gas, & Water (MLGW), the nation's largest three service public utility provider, has embarked on a multi-year seismic retrofit of several components of their key infrastructure. These components include data processing centers, electrical transformer stations, water distribution facilities, and more. The purpose of the retrofit, while underway for several years leading up to the New Madrid Bicentennial, has been to ensure services are able to be delivered follwoing a major earthquake along the New Madrid Sesmic Zone. Since 1990, MLGW has spent nearly $81 million on seismic mitigation projects. Some of these improvements include:
- Improvements to water facilities include retrofits at four pumping stations to include aerator, filter, and pump buildings.
- Installation of reservoir-mounted high service pumps at three pumping stations to negate the effect of building collapse hazards on transmission or pumping capabilities.
- Emergency generators have been installed at six water pumping stations, with a second backup generator project currently nearing completion.
- Anchoring of transformers and other equipment at electric substations and other areas.
- Securing a total of $6 million in FEMA grants to help fund improvements to the electric and water systems.
- Replacing older cast iron gas mains with polyethylene, which is more flexible and reliable.
- Relocating critical areas such as the Customer Care Center, Commercial Resource Center and Information Technology from the Administration Building to MLGW's Netters Business Center location on Whitten Road for business continuity.
- Retrofitting of truck canopies at work centers to prevent damage to parked crew trucks.
"MLGW is committed to bringing safe and reliable utility services to its customers in the best and worst of conditions," said MLGW President and CEO Jerry Collins Jr. "While no structure is "earthquake proof," MLGW continues to brace its system to help minimize the affects of such an event in the Memphis area."
Some portion of the retrofits are part of the Hazard Mitigation Grand Program and the Pre-Disaster Mitigation program. These programs are funded, in part, by the Federal Government and are designed to to further protect the nation's infrastructure and population from disasters. MLGW has documented several of the retrofit projects in following videos.
Video 1: Earthquake Preparedness (Summary of All Videos)
Video 2: Earthquake Preparedness - Facilities
Video 3: Earthquake Preparedness - Water
Video 4: Earthquake Preparedness - Gas
Video 5: Earthquake Preparedness - Electric