Shutdown of Water Reclamation Facility #1

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Posted on : 05-03-2016 | By : Tammy Hoff | In : News, OUS Public Education & Outreach Group

The upgrades to Water Reclamation Facility #2 (WRF #2) are completed and the plant capacity has been increased. It’s now time to start the sequencing shutdown of the oldest Water Reclamation Facility, which was built in the late 1940’s.

On April 19, 2016, the Water Resources Department temporarily shut down the 1,100,000 gallon per day flow to Water Reclamation Facility #1 to test the wastewater conveyance system of the city to verify the handling of additional flows from the plant. Flows from the facility were transferred between WRF #2 and WRF #3.

For the next three months, WRF #1 remains operational as Water Resources runs an internal re-circulation of the plant to test the wastewater system and other Water Reclamation Facilities for their capability. During this time, WRF #1 will remain active. Tanks will be cleaned and pumped down. While remaining available for the return of influent flow, should it be necessary. Our main goal during this time period is controlling the odor and keeping the treatment process active.

In three months it will be proven that the conveyance system is completely capable of handling the additional flows from the plant, and if no influent flows have been returned back to WRF #1 it will be decided to completely shut down WRF #1.  All tanks will be drained and cleaned; the plant will sit until the permit is completed in 2019.  If you have any  additional questions, please contact Water Resources at 352-351-6772.

FREE Septic Tank and Well Elimination Program Questions and Answers

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Posted on : 02-26-2016 | By : Tammy Hoff | In : Uncategorized

FREE Septic Tank and Well Elimination Program
Questions and Answers

What is the purpose of the Septic Tank and Well Elimination Program? The City of Ocala has partnered with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and St. John’s River Water Management District to improve the health of Silver Springs and its tributaries through the Septic Tank and Well Elimination Program. The goal of the program is to eliminate at least 840 septic tanks in the City of Ocala and reduce nitrogen pollution discharged to Silver Springs.

 How do I qualify?  The program is looking at properties with septic tanks where existing sanitary sewer collection systems are available for connection. Right now, under the program City of Ocala Water Resources customers can have their septic tanks completely removed and connected to the city’s central sewer system at no cost to the homeowner. For more information, or to find out if you qualify, call the Water Resources Department at 352-351-6772 or visit www.ocalafl.org.us.

Can I be forced to connect to the City of Ocala sewer system if my property is eligible for this program?  Participation is completely voluntary.  The cost to connect to the sewer system and properly seal off the existing septic tank can cost thousands of dollars. With the FREE Septic Tank Removal Program homeowners will benefit with our services. Adding city sewer to a home adds resale value to the property. Having the city service also takes the burden of maintaining a failing septic system off the occupant and/or owner, leaving our Water Resource Department to properly treat the waste. As a homeowner, you will no longer worry about having the septic tank pumped or drain field failure again. Although it is not mandatory to participate in this program, The State of Florida Statute 381.0655 will require all property owners with Central Sewer available to their property to connect within 365 days of notice of availability. As the State of Florida is currently providing a Grant to pay for these connection costs, we urge all citizens to take advantage of this opportunity.

I’m already paying for sewer even though I have a septic tank.  This is a Sewer Availability Charge.  This cost is for maintaining infrastructure in front of your property and ensuring it is available to serve you.

My septic tank is free.  A perfectly functioning septic tank, produces approximately 42 mg/l (milligrams per liter) of Nitrogen loading into the environment. The Federal Drinking Water Standard is 10 mg/l.  The states goal is to reduce nitrogen pollution. One way to achieve this goal is to remove septic tanks whenever possible, especially in urbanized areas, and in spring sensitive areas. Wastewater that is untreated can contaminate surface water, groundwater, and threaten public health. Improperly treated sewage can spread diseases such as hepatitis, dysentery, and other diseases resulting from pathogens in drinking water. Lakes, springs, and streams may also be compromised.

What will I pay once connected to the city sewer system?  See the link below to our current rate book.  A typical family (3-4 persons) that uses 6000 gallons per month, will see an increase of approximately $15-$20 dollars per month.

http://www.ocalafl.org/uploadedFiles/Utility_Services_Redesign/Rate_%20Booklet_June_2012.pdf

Will I ever have to repay the impact fees or cost on construction?  No

Are commercial or non-profit properties currently included in this program? Each property is considered on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Water Resources at 352-351-6772.

Could I be forced to connect to the sewer system in the future? The State of Florida Statute 381.0655 will require all property owners with Central Sewer available to their property to connect within 365 days of notice of availability. As the State of Florida is currently providing a Grant to pay for these connection costs, we urge all citizens to take advantage of this opportunity.

What happens if don’t connect now, but may want to in the future? Am I still eligible?  Grant funds may no longer be available to provide a no costs connection. As a result, the costs for connection would be the responsibility of the property owner.  

Who can I contact with any additional questions regarding the program?  Please call the Water Resources Department at 352-351-6772 and ask for Renee O’Donnell or Richard Knight.

Who will be managing the construction and completing the connection to my home?  The Water Resources Department will be responsible for contracting with certified plumbers and manage the day to day construction activities.

How long will construction take once they start on my property? Typically for completion of the connection, abandonment of the septic tank and restoration of your property plumbers may be on site for two weeks.

What can I expect as far as restoration of the areas disturbed during construction? The contractor or plumber is required to return each property to its pre-construction condition.

Is the work completed by the certified plumbers covered by any type of warranty?  Yes: There is a one year (1) Material and Workmanship warranty.

 

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City of Ocala Water Resources Department Teams Up With State Agencies To Help Silver Springs Health

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Posted on : 02-19-2016 | By : Tammy Hoff | In : News, OUS Public Education & Outreach Group

For decades, citizens of Marion County and visitors alike have enjoyed the beauty of Silver Springs and the Silver River for eco-tourism, family fun time or as an environmental education tool. I’m sure those of you who grew up in this area remember field trips to Silver Springs where you rode the glass-bottom boats and learned about local wildlife, held an alligator, or viewed injured animals as they recovered, whether it be a bald eagle, hawk or snakes.  On any given day, there were multiple boats, kayaks or canoes sharing the waterway with the glass-bottom boats on the Silver River.

There have been many changes to Silver Springs over the years and recently the State of Florida assumed operation of it as a State Park.  Due to a multitude of environmental factors, Silver Springs was deemed an impaired body of water by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  The nitrate levels at the springs have been elevated.   How does this affect the springs?  To sum it up, nitrogen produces nitrate, which is a fertilizer.  This has caused the vegetation in and around the springs to flourish and overtake many areas. For those of you who have admired the springs for decades when viewing an aerial, you’ll notice a significant alteration.  The river bottom, once white with flecks of green have disappeared.  In its place a green bottom has overtaken the view with very little white protruding from beneath it.  Changes such as this affect not only the vegetation within the river, but aquatic and wildlife in the area.

Although there are several contributors to the elevated nitrogen levels, it has been determined by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection that one of the main contributors are septic systems.  With this in mind, the City of Ocala has partnered with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and St. Johns River Water Management District to eliminate septic systems that have city sewer available for connection.  The City of Ocala is offering an opportunity to connect to city sewer for free.  The sewer connection fees and the cost of a plumber will be paid for by a grant offered through agencies’ partnership.

The City determined that there are approximately 850 properties within the city limits paying sewer availability charges.  This means that sewer is available to the property for connection; however, the property is utilizing an existing on-site septic system.  The City activated the Septic Tank and Well Elimination Program in June 2015. To date, the city has abandoned two Wastewater Treatment Plants (Package Plants),  and one Department of Environmental Protection permitted well, servicing approximately 202 residents.  The first single family residential property to connect to city sewer for free was completed Sept. 29, 2015. To date the city has connected approximately 80 residential properties to city sewer.  To accomplish this monumental task, the city has enlisted the help of multiple plumbers.  Currently, there are 11 plumbers registered with the city to bid on contracts, performing singular emergency connections, or to perform multiple non-emergency connections to city sewer.  Over time, with the elimination of the approximately 850 septic systems, the citizens can expect to see a reduction of approximately 11,900 pounds per year of nitrogen to the Silver River.

There are multiple infrastructure extension projects being constructed in addition to the individual property connections.  Those properties that are provided sewer services by one of these construction projects will also be offered a free sewer connection.

Letters are being provided to each property that is eligible to receive the free sewer connection under the Septic Tank and Well Elimination Program.  If you receive a letter of eligibility and documentation required for the free connection, please complete the form and return it to the City of Ocala Water Resources Department as soon as possible, as this program is on a first come, first serve basis.

If you are a plumber, concerned citizen or are interested in participating in this program, call the Water Resources Department at 352-351-6772 and ask for Renee O’Donnell or Richard Knight. You can also visit our website at www.ocalafl.org/us or send an email to ROdonnell@ocalafl.org.  Don’t pass up this opportunity to protect your water resources and save as a customer all at the same time!

Full Speed Ahead!

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Posted on : 01-28-2016 | By : Tammy Hoff | In : Online Services, OUS Public Education & Outreach Group, Website

In the heart of downtown Ocala things are evolving, and so is Ocala Utility Services.  Look to see big improvements in 2016.  We are creating a new digital city in this mobile era by using smartphones, tablets, wearables and ubiquitous computing. This opens the door for Ocala Utility Services to offer customers an easy and convenient method to view and pay their utility bills online. With construction about to kick off downtown, the Customer Service Office drive through will be closed February 1, 2016. But don’t worry; making payments online is fast and easy! You can view bills and pay online with “One Time Pay,” no registration is required and the payment information is not retained.  It is safe and secure! Your information is kept confidential and is 100% secure, backed by the highest standard in security today. Plus, it’s eco-friendly! When you make a payment online, you reduce paper use, save natural resources like trees, save gas, and reduce your carbon footprint.

Making the decision to pay online you have an option to create an online profile to manage your account, opt to go paperless, view billing history or set up an automated payment plan. You can also pay by text; opt to receive text messaging notices and payments options and store payment information online.

As a convenience to you, online payment services are provided by Invoice Cloud.  When using a credit/debit* card, a convenience fee of $4.75 for any payment up to a maximum of $500 per transaction is charged. If paying by check, no additional fee is charged. You will need to enter your routing and transit number and account number as printed on the bottom of your checks. Ocala Utility Services does not collect or receive any monies from this convenience fee. It is strictly a processing fee charged by Invoice Cloud in order to provide this convenient service to you.

We try to engage with our customers as much as possible by offering choices and options to manage your utilities. What may be right for one customer may not be right for you.  Online payments are not for everyone.  Additional ways to make a payment are listed below:

 Alternative Ways to Make Payments

 Automated Phone System-(352) 629-8216
Online-www.ocalafl.org/us
Automatic Payment Program
By Text
Fidelity Express
Western Union
MoneyGram
By Mail

**Payment Kiosks will be located
around the city by the end of February

An after hour drop box is located in front of the Citizens Service Center building. The payments are collected at 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday – Friday (excluding holidays) and are processed the same day.  Please do not use cash payments at these drop boxes.

Payments made online will appear on your account the same day.  Payments made through the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) will be posted the next business day.  For Pay As You Go customers please allow two (2) business days to post to My Usage.

Energy is engaging; engage with us!  Mobility enables us to improve customer service. It provides our customers with access to data and documents when and where it is needed. Mobility improves overall efficiency and enables direct updates to your device in real time.   In this mobile era we provide you with choices and options: email, text, phone and website. Which one is right for you?Ocala_Logos

Conservation – Efficiency Programs

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Ocala Electric Utility found that energy efficient homes have a positive impact toward our customers all year long. Energy efficiency protects the environment and economy by reducing the energy bill for homeowners and businesses by 20 percent. We offer our customers conservation tools/tips, energy star rebates and public education throughout the year.

Ocala Utility Services (OUS) has a strategy that works. We plan, target, engage and deliver. Here is how:

Public Education & Outreach

Conservation:
• Brochures, flyers, booklets, newsletters
• Website
• Social media
• Community events
• Speakers Bureau – youth groups, civic clubs
• Local school presentations and hands on demonstrations
• Conservation kits given out to new customers and to customer field representatives come in contact with.
• Citizens Academy / Public Utilities Week promoting the value of conservation

Rebates:
Ocala Electric Utility offers several Energy Star rebates to help improve the customers comfort and efficiency within the home. By choosing an Energy Star appliance, the customer will offset initial costs through energy savings over the life of the unit. Being more energy efficient and using less electricity/water than standard models costing them less annually to run.

Air Condition
Attic Insulation
Clothes Washer
Dishwasher
Freezer
Programmable Thermostat
Refrigerator
Solar Water Heating Systems
Commercial Lighting

MyUsage.com:
The Pay As You Go Program has been a successful implementation for our customers and as a utility. Promoting energy conservation, MyUsage is an awareness program allowing customers to see their usage, consumption, past weather analytics, at the touch of their finger tips on an hourly basis. This allows the customer to have complete control of their utility bill. Studies have shown that the customer can save up to 15 percent on their energy use by using this program.

Net Metering:
We also offer a Net Metering Program to all solar customers. Net metering is a service which credits our residential and commercial customers who are equipped with a renewable energy source. This energy source adds additional electricity to the grid. Customers are billed for the amount of energy (in kilowatt hours kWh) delivered from the utility to their home or business and the utility will provide Renewable Generation Credit (RGC) for the energy received from the customers in excess of their usage. This gives customers more control over their own electricity bill.

Weatherization:
OUS also reaches out in the community by weatherizing two or more qualifying homes a year. This allows us as a utility to make a personal connection with the customer, and help them save on future utility bills. Working with Kids Central, an agency which identifies homes for the weatherization program the group of volunteers provide labor for simple and affordable conservation demonstrations. Depending on the condition of the home determines what work will be done. This may include, but is not limited to weather stripping/caulking of window and door jams, installation of low flow water restrictors for showers and sinks, energy-efficient fluorescent lamps and, in some cases, blowing insulation into the attic. These items are low cost and require little effort to install. Simple weatherization projects can provide home and business owners a return on their investment.

Additionally, in an effort to impact more of our customers, the volunteers deliver “Do-It-Yourself” conservation kits and information packages to the surrounding neighborhood residents.

Car Charging Station:
Installation of an electric car charging station was implemented downtown for our customers use. This promoted the use of electric cars replacing the use of fossil fuel for a cleaner environment.

OUS is reviewing additional conservation efforts:
• Energy efficient lighting at local Farmers’ Market facility
• Weatherize local Community Wellness Center
• Provide on-line Conservation Newsletter and Resource Library for Industrial/Large Power customers
• Electric car
• Additional rebates

  • Heat Pump Water Heater
  • Energy Efficient Pool Pump
  • Large Power/Industrial Customized Rebate
  • Small/Medium Commercial Customized Rebate

Other Conservation-Efficiency Programs the City of Ocala participates in:
• Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program
• State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP)
• Community Action Agency Weatherization program

Light Up Your Christmas!

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Posted on : 12-02-2015 | By : Tammy Hoff | In : OUS Public Education & Outreach Group, Seasonal

Christmas will be here before you know it. This means Christmas lights are being hung all over the inside and outside of our homes.  You may be asking, what kind of lights should be used? LEDs or incandescent bulbs? Will I have an energy savings on my electric bill if I switch to LEDs? The answer is YES! LED lights consume approximately 80-90% less energy compared to the incandescent bulbs. They also last up to 100,000 hours verses an incandescent bulb lasting only 3,000 hours.  Because the LED holidays lights are cool to the touch, replacing an old set of string lights with LED lights can decrease the chances of home fires. It is proven that LED lights reduce costs drastically with their long lasting hours and durable construction, multiplying your savings year after year.

Additional ways to reduce energy consumption this season:

  • Add a Timer to control how long your lights are on
  • Use Extension cords in less visible areas to add length to your display instead of an additional set of lights.

*Both timers and extension cords support different amp capacities, so pair with Christmas lights of equal amperage.

Need a gift Idea?

  • Since lighting is essential all year long, brighten someone’s holiday by giving them LED light bulbs.  Lights can be 25% of a home’s electrical use. You can be a part in making someone’s home more energy efficient and help them save all year long.
  • Do you know someone who needs a new smoke detector? Ocala Fire Rescue can help! Call 352-629-8306 to find out how you can get a complimentary smoke detector.

Holiday safety:

  • Be sure to use the right set of lights for where they are being placed. Indoor use, outdoor use or both.
  • Check and replace all light sets that have frayed wires, damaged sockets or cracked insulation.
  • Make sure all outdoor cords, plugs and sockets are weatherproof. Keep electrical connections off the ground, and make sure wiring is kept clear to prevent any shock risk.
  • Do not overload your electric circuits.
  • Keep your live trees well watered. Light your tree only when you are home and awake to enjoy it.

It doesn’t matter if you are competing with your neighbors to have the best and brightest light display or simply looking for practical gifts, keep energy efficiency in mind. It’s a gift you can enjoy all year long! Above all, be safe in your home and have an energy-aware holiday season.

 

Pad Mounted Transformers

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Posted on : 07-31-2015 | By : Tammy Hoff | In : News, OUS Public Education & Outreach Group

What are the green metal boxes you see in many neighborhoods, or possibly even have on your property?  These green metal boxes are called pad mount transformers, which are used with underground electric power distribution lines. It is a device that moves electricity safely from one circuit to another by stepping down the power (changes the voltage) to enable power usage in our homes and businesses. A single transformer may serve one large building, or many residential homes.

Because electricity flows through the transformers, it is important to keep transformers clear of vegetation. When there is an emergency, power outage, or maintenance required on the electrical system, technicians must be able to access the transformer. Some of the maintenance and/or service calls are done while working on energized equipment. If landscaping makes contact with equipment it can cause an electrical fault. Certain faults can be extremely dangerous and even deadly to our customers and/or employees.  To prevent any hazards or dangers there should be a 3’ clearance of all vegetation surrounding all sides of the pad mount transformer, and 10’ clearance in front in order for the technician to safely complete their work.

Pad mounted transformers are often surrounded by underground cables; digging around the surrounding area could damage the underground cables. Ground wire may also be buried surrounding the  pad mount transformer at a distance of 0.3 meters to 1 meter (1 foot to 3.3 feet), and buried at a depth of about 0.3 meters. Like all power lines, the ground wire should not be obstructed.

When planting trees/vegetation near pad mount transformer, be sure to allow the proper growth distance:

  • Keep in mind that the transformer must be accessible for service at all times
  • Select plants that are easily maintained and suitable for the site
  • Allow plants sufficient growing room
  • Do not plant in front of the transformer (the side with the padlock)
  • Do not allow plantings to grow over the transformer
  • Avoid disposing of liquids through grates on below-ground transformers
  • Do not change grade levels around pad mount transformers

MEASUREMENTS811

More than Just Fireworks for Ocala Utility Services

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Posted on : 07-09-2015 | By : Tammy Hoff | In : News, OUS Public Education & Outreach Group, OUS SPOTLIGHT, Seasonal, Severe Weather, Website

This past weekend 3,847 (7 percent) of Ocala Utility Services (OUS) customers were impacted by the severe storm systems.  Ocala Utility Services experienced 60 separate outages that ranged from 1000+ customers to single outages.  Out of those outages there were 21 unpreventable vegetation outages; trees that had fallen or blown from a distance greater than ten feet from our line and required conductor and/or equipment repair.

For some industries, there is no such thing as a holiday.  Ocala Utility Services has people on watch 24 hours a day 7 days a week. During the previous weekend’s storm there were two crews on-call, and an additional seven crews were deployed. The severe storms systems prompted a utility wide effort; assistance was provided by every division in the utility to guarantee complete restoration and customer satisfaction.

Being prepared for any type of event can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany severe weather disasters. The utility is responsible for 160 square miles of the community’s service territory.  The following facts will break down the territory:

  • 1,136 miles of power lines
  • Over 40,000 power poles
  • 554 miles of water distribution lines
  • 23,546 water meters
  • 4,090 fire hydrants.

A strong commitment from not only utility employees, but our 50,000 educated and well prepared customers will ensure minimal impact and fast restoration from a storm or natural disaster. Understanding the necessary steps and proper procedures will warrant an efficient and quality utility recovery.  During a power outage, OUS kindly request that you take the following steps:

  • Call 352-351-6666, the most convenient and efficient way to report an outage, please be aware that an outage only needs to be reported once.
  • Visit http://outages.ocalafl.org/. This “Outage Viewer” platform displays the current and verified outages within our service territory. The page updates automatically every 5 minutes.

During a large scale event such as a hurricane; we would like to inform our customers that the crews do not work during the storm. Wind speeds (including gusts) of thirty miles per hour prohibit us from working safely. A single gust of wind can overturn our equipment. As soon as it is safe, we will begin to assess damage. Power starts at a generation station and then goes through various steps before reaching your home. The system is complex and interweaving. This interweaving is what makes it possible for your neighbor to have power, while you are still in the dark. Ocala Utility Services has approximately 50,000 customers and it would be impractical of us to answer the phone when a large percentage of those customers are without power. Be confident that we are reviewing all calls. To be most effective, we must restore power on a customer per man-hour basis. Understand that we have to place a high priority on Public Safety Issues. Examples of this include: hospitals, emergency facilities, nursing homes, shelters, sewer lift stations and water treatment facilities. Please do not approach utility personnel during this critical phase. This impedes our progress for all customers. Assessment personnel will prioritize the work and then send in the necessary equipment as soon as practical. It is possible that you will see a tree crew or other support personnel. Any damage to the meter can, wire, and the pipe attached to the home is the responsibility of the customer and must be repaired by an electrician before the utility can restore power to your home.

AFTER YOU HAVE POWER: Please leave an outside light on for us. This assists us to identify individual problems. Refrain from reporting non-emergency or non-outage related problems for a few more days. There is a great deal of “Temporary” work that takes place during restoration.

In the meantime, know that we are doing everything to restore your power, water resources, and telecommunications as safely and efficiently as possible.

For more information please visit our website for a FREE Storm Preparedness Booklet.  In this booklet you will find a family disaster plan, a disaster supply kit, critical contact information, water and sewer safety tips, and much more valuable information to help you and your family prepare before, during and after the storm.

http://www.ocalafl.org/uploadedFiles/Support_Services/Public_Information/Storm-Prep-Booklet.pdf

No matter what Mother Nature may bring, the dedicated utility workers leave the comfort of their homes, and families to serve the community to make Ocala a great place to work, play and prosper.  Ocala, “It’s ON”!

Why am I seeing Osmose Utilities Services near my home?

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Posted on : 04-16-2015 | By : Tammy Hoff | In : Uncategorized

pole inspection2

Our goal is to provide our customers with the best reliable electric service.  To do this, we need to ensure that our wood utility poles are in good condition since they are the main source  of our infrastructure, holding everything together.

As of April 6, 2015, Osmose Utilities Services  has been assigned to (carry out) wood utility pole inspections. Osmose will be identifying poles that are decaying and will estimate the strength of the current utility poles in use. If the pole’s condition warrants, it will be tagged for replacement.  The Pole Inspection Project will  take place over the next Eight years.

The inspectors provide wood pole maintenance, remedial treatments, and determine the life cycle of the pole. The service life of most wooden utility poles range from 30 to 40 years.  Some  of the Inspections Methods include:

  1. Visual Inspections (Visual and Sound)
  2. Sound and Bore
  3. Partial Excavation Plus Sound and Bore
  4. Excavation to a depth of 18” to 24” Plus Sound and Bore
  5. Electronic Inspection Devices

All poles are given a visual inspection checking for damages caused by woodpeckers, lightening or weathering.  The hitting or banging of a utility pole is called sounding.  The sound informs the      inspectors of the areas of decay and general condition of the utility pole. Poles are also drilled at a 45 – degree angle to check the interior voids caused by insect infestation or decaying. Each hole is then plugged up to  prevent entry of moisture decay, fungi and/or insects.  If the pole is over 15 years old, it will go through a more extensive inspection by excavation. Once the pole has been cleared and passed inspection, a small dated aluminum inspection tag is attached to each pole to provide for efficient monitoring.

By being proactive, Ocala Utility Services can prevent decaying poles that could easily snap and fall to the ground during a storm/heavy wind condition; jeopardizing the system’s reliability.    Inspecting all utility pole components to protect and maintain our infrastructure and reliability of city services is vital to  keeping the distribution system safe. If you have any questions about the program or the Osmose crews working in your area, please call 352-629-CITY (2489).

 

pole inspection

 

OUS Makes Safety a Top Priority

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Posted on : 04-07-2015 | By : Tammy Hoff | In : OUS Public Education & Outreach Group, OUS SPOTLIGHT

On March 26, 2015, Ocala Electric Services had an Annual Safety and Training Day. In line work we try to prepare for events that may happen while working on energized power lines. Sometimes unfortunate incidents occur that may require us to rescue a coworker. To maintain a level of proficiency in rescue scenarios, we certify annually at three different rescue techniques: Pole top Rescue, Bucket Truck Rescue and Confined Space Rescue.

Pole top Rescue

Used if a lineman who has climbed a pole suffers from an incident that makes him/her unable to climb on his own. A lineman on the ground must take action. He must first de-energize the power to create a safe environment. He then ascends the pole; secures the injured worker with a rope (hand line). He will wrap the rope around the pole to control the speed of the injured person’s descent. Then the lineman cuts the climbing belt of the injured worker and lowers the person to the ground as quickly as safely possible. Then emergency medical procedures can begin.

Bucket Truck Rescue

If a lineworker working from a bucket truck suffers from debilitating issue the workers on the ground are required to take action to get them down. Bucket trucks have controls mounted to the pedestal on the truck as well as in the bucket. The lower pedestal controls are used when the worker in the bucket is unable to use the bucket controls to get to the ground. If an incident occurs the worker on the ground must use the lower controls to retrieve the bucket to get the injured worker to the ground. This requires skill and practice as to not cause injury to the worker. Once the bucket is lowered to the ground, the injured worker is lifted out of the bucket by a set of pulleys attached to the truck. Then emergency medical treatment can be performed.

Confined Space Rescue

The utility has several underground vaults where work must be performed in. These vaults can have a variety of hazards, energized power lines, poisonous gases, lack of oxygen, and water ingress are a few. In the event a worker must be rescued, preparation is key to a successful retrieval. A tripod or other lifting anchor must be in place over the vault. The workers will test for gases at various levels before entering and continue to test while in the confined space. The worker in the vault will remain attached to the rescue device and maintain constant contact with the observer. Should something go wrong and the employee need to be retrieved the observer will begin rescue procedures immediately.

Taking the time for regular practice and annual certification helps to keep these skills honed. Keeping in tune with the latest techniques helps bolster the confidence of all the employees. Incidents of any kind can have devastating effects. Being prepared helps to prevent or minimize those incidents. Setting aside time for training, wearing the proper protective equipment and following safe work practices, help to ensure our employees can go home safely at the end of each work day.

Please click here for pictures