Northwest Correctional Complex Assists City With Emergency
TIPTONVILLE – Yesterday, Northwest Correctional Complex was called into action to help assist the City of Tiptonville save some equipment from damaging floods at the waste water treatment plant. The equipment at risk was a lift station that helps keep the water treatment plant lagoon from overflowing. If water reaches the lift station’s pumps it would be at risk of shutting down, which could lead to a major disruption in water and waste services to the city and potentially the Correctional Complex.
The request for assistance came through to Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) around 11:30 a.m. from the Lake County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) for inmate assistance to fill sandbags to be used for surrounding their water treatment plant to protect a vital piece of machinery from rising water.
The maintenance crew and inmates from the Neil Rone Unit (NRU) made quick work of filling the sandbags at the NWCX facility, loaded them to a trailer and dump truck and transported them to the site. There was another NRU crew onsite to receive the sandbags and build the barrier wall around the Lift station.
Kent Roberts, Waste Water Superintendent for the City of Tiptonville, said they were trying to keep the Lift station’s pumps from flooding and to keep the controls dry. “If the water reaches the pump it could shut down and the lagoon will overflow. The pump shutting down would pose a risk for the city and the prison. I have been watching the area and saw that the water was getting high around the pumps and called for help. With the combined effort of the inmates, staff from the prison and the city public works department we were able to build a barrier around the pump to keep it from flooding. We caught it in time.”
The emergency at hand would not only effect the city of Tiptonville, it could possibly effect NWCX facility said Mack Cooper. “Flooding hasn’t been this bad in the area before. The ground is so saturated from all the rain we’ve gotten there’s nowhere for the water to go.” Cooper went on to say, “If the waste water facility would have shut down we have an emergency plan put in place where we would have to go under a water restriction and have external resources pump and take sewage to a treatment plant. But, because we caught the issue in time we aren’t at risk to do that.”
Cooper said the facility is looking forward to partnering with the city on future projects. “Once the area dries up we plan to partner with the community to build a more permanent structure around the pump. That way, it will help keep this from happening again.”