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City of Mill Valley Plans for Public Safety Power Shutoff: Plan to Provide Essential City Services

October 8, 2019

The City has developed a PSPS Draft Plan and Playbook, with details on how to continue providing essential City services.

Introduction

The City of Mill Valley’s leadership and Emergency Operations Center staff are preparing for a potential PSPS by evaluating City infrastructure, how to provide essential services, and checking in with other affected local agencies. We expect that the PSPS will impact City infrastructure, such as buildings, street lights, and traffic signals, as well as the ability to provide routine, non-essential services. The following is some information about City facilities and services that may possibly be impacted.

Please note that the information below is preliminary, and events and circumstances may change our ability to provide listed resources and services.

Facility: City Hall

Will it have power? Yes - Generator back up.  Expected to last approx 2 days until refueling needed.

What level of service to expect:

  • Limited operations: During the PSPS, staff resources will be focused primarily on supporting public safety, communications, and attending to immediate community needs.
  • Services: Staff will continue to provide communication services during the PSPS. The public should expect communications to be delivered in many formats: Online, social media, text, phone calls, radio, and bulletin boards placed at City Hall and the Community Center. 
  • Closed or canceled: Typical work items such as Engineering, Planning, Building and Code Enforcement will be attempted, but depending on the length of the power outage, will likely be delayed. Planning & Building, Finance, Public Works will likely be closed to the public. The public should expect scheduled public meetings (City Council, Planning Commission) and other public events such as the First Tuesday Art Walk to be canceled during the PSPS.
  • Public access: City Hall is expected to be open during regular hours (8:30 am – 5:30 pm). City Hall will serve as an information center and may stay open through the lunch hour staff assigned to answer questions. Planning & Building, Finance, and Public Works will likely be closed for routine services. Some charging stations may be available. Wifi will not be available. City Hall does not have air conditioning.

Facility: Community Center

Will it have power? Yes - Generator back up - to less than  1 day (approx. 17 hours) before requiring refueling. 

What level of service to expect: 

  • Limited operations: During the PSPS, staff resources will be directed to support public safety, communications, and attending to immediate community needs.
  • Services/Public Access: The Community Center MAY serve as our main Community Resource Center/Cooling Center. The public should expect the Lobby and Cascade Room to be open for cooling, to charge devices and conduct work. Wifi and phones will most likely not be available.  Informational updates will be physically posted on a bulletin board in front of the Community Center.
  • Closed or canceled: The public should expect Recreation, Aquatics, and Fitness programs/ facilities, and rentals to be canceled/closed during the PSPS. The pool will be closed during the PSPS. The aerobics equipment will not be available as well. 

Facility: Public Safety Building

Will it have power? Yes – Generator back up - to last approximately one day before requiring refueling. 

What level of service to expect: 

  • Fully operational. Please do not call 911 unless you are reporting a life-threatening emergency.
  • Services/Public Access: For security purposes, the lobby will be available for members of the public to conduct Police-related business only. Please do not use the lobby to charge devices - charging services are available at the Community Center.

Facility: Wastewater Treatment Plant and Pump Stations

Will it have power? Yes – Generator Back Up

What level of service to expect: Fully operational.

  • The Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) is designed with a provision to function during power interruptions, while retaining a full treatment capacity. It has two emergency generators (diesel) that will provide power the plant. It has a fuel storage tank with a designed capacity  of 4000 gal that is enough for 4 days of use without refueling, while treating a maximum designed flow of 32 MGD (million gal/day). The average dry weather flow is about 2.4 MGD.
  • All the pump stations have the emergency generators as well, each with a storage tank that is sufficient for 24 hours or more. The WWTP also has a designated vehicle to refuel remote locations as needed.
  • Public Access: This facility will be open for members of the public to conduct sewer-related business only. Please do not use the lobby to charge devices - charging services are available at the Community Center.

Facility: Library

Will it have power? No

What level of service to expect: The Library will be closed.

Facility: Streetlights

Will they have power? Streetlights will not have power during the PSPS.

How to prepare: Use a flashlight when walking around your neighborhood at night, and wear bright/reflective clothing. 

Facility: Traffic Signals

Will it have power? Partial

What level of service to expect: 

  • Traffic signals have battery backup systems that, depending on the size of the intersection (and therefore the amount of power it requires), will operate for approximately 3-4 hours.
  • When the batteries reach approximately 40% of their remaining life, the intersections will operate for approximately 4-6 hours in flashing red mode. During flashing red mode, the intersection operates the same as an all way stop controlled intersection, whereby all vehicles are required to stop and ensure it is safe to go prior to proceeding through the intersection.
  • Please drive slowly and treat the intersection as 4 way stop. 

Questions or comments may be directed to Linn Walsh, Senior Management Analyst at lwalsh@cityofmillvalley.org

Are you prepared? Click here to learn more.