The Macon Water Authority

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Vigilant Guard offers disaster preparedness

Apr 3, 2017 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.

Mwa_2017_vigilant_guard_pic_1

During the last week in March, the MWA hosted Vigilant Guard exercises at the Amerson Plant to evaluate its disaster preparedness by practicing a simulated emergency involving a chlorine leak (above) on site.

The Macon Water Authority (MWA), in cooperation with the Georgia National Guard and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) hosted Vigilant Guard Exercises at the Amerson Water Treatment Plant over the course of two days during the last week in March.

The first day featured a demonstration of the Tactical Water Purification System and a Tabletop Exercise simulating a Dam Breach, while the second day includes a full-scale Chlorine Spill Exercise on site, which could impact surrounding communities.

The intent of the Vigilant Guard Exercises was to test the MWA Emergency Response Plan, to gain community involvement, to disseminate information about emergency preparedness, and to set conditions in the event additional or increased funding is needed.

The Georgia Vigilant Guard 2017 exercises held around the state were sponsored by the United States Northern Command (U.S. NORTHCOM), in conjunction with the National Guard Bureau (NGB). These exercises provided the Georgia National Guard with opportunities to improve cooperation and relationships with its local, state, and regional civilian, military, and federal partners, in preparation for emergencies and responses to all-hazards or catastrophic events.

The Georgia Vigilant Guard Exercises at the MWA Amerson Water Treatment Plant included the following scenarios to facilitate simulated catastrophic events requiring emergency responses by all parties involved.

The first scenario entailed a Dam Breach. During this scenario, rains filled the MWA Reservoir (Javors Lucas Lake), with water eventually flowing through the earthen structure of the dam and going over the top of the dam (as planned), exceeding the typical or permitted amount of water release from the dam. The MWA coordinated the requirements for when water passing through the dam exceeds the norm, to protect the integrity of the structure and the safety of property and persons within the vicinity and downstream.

While conducting the Table Top Exercise on the Dam Breach, the MWA also hosted a Tactical Water Purification System Demonstration. The intent of this demonstration was to show how this system operates to purify drinking water, as needed in the case of an emergency.

On the second/final day of Vigilant Guard exercises at the MWA, the Authority conducted a full-scale simulated Chlorine Leak. In this incident, an accident caused containers of Chlorine to leak at or near the MWA Amerson Water Treatment Plant. This leak required the evacuation of MWA personnel on site, while triggering support and response from local law enforcement, Macon-Bibb County Fire and Rescue, and the Georgia Department of Defense (DOD) Civil Support Team (CST), who assisted with notification and evacuation of civilians within the impacted area.

The efforts by the MWA staff to prepare and practice for emergencies and possible disasters are reflected in the Authority’s recent Five-Year Strategic Plan, which features focused areas of improvement that include Security & Emergency Preparedness.

Media contact:
Chris Wood, Ph.D.
Phone: 770-757-1681
Email: jcwood@uga.edu or chris@jwapr.com

Tagged: macon water authority, mwa, georgia vigilant guard, georgia national guard, georgia environmental protection division, us northern command, northcom, national guard bureau

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