Diesel Power Generation

For emergencies in an emergency

Posted on 10 August 2015 by Nicole Burdiss, Images by ©iStock.com/shaunl/halbergman, Radoslaw Lecyk/Shutterstock.com, David Wall Photo/Getty Images

The San Francisco Fire Department decided to install mtu Series 2000 engines at the pump station for the emergency water supply.
Firefighters at work. If the power fails, mtu gensets make sure enough water can always be pumped out of San Francisco Bay.

In 1906, San Francisco was struck by a major earthquake. Buildings collapsed, and fire spread across the city. With the water mains out of service, the city was unable to extinguish the flames, which burned out of control for several days. Nearly 80 percent of the city was destroyed.

In the ensuing years, San Francisco's infrastructure was completely rebuilt. The Auxiliary Water Supply System (AWSS) was constructed to pump water directly from San Francisco Bay specifically for fire protection. Completed in 1913, the network is made up of a collection of water reservoirs, cisterns, suction connections, fireboats and two pump stations, one of which is in the basement of San Francisco Fire Department's headquarters.

The long, yellow fire hoses are laid out by a firefighter.

The fire department building's historical features include marble flooring, original windows and doors, as well as mechanical equipment, such as process gauges and valves that date back to the building's original construction in the early 1900s. The headquarters also houses the city's Firefighters Memorial Wall that pays tribute to those who gave their lives to save the lives of others in fires, natural disasters and medical emergencies.

In 1972, the pump station's original steam engines were replaced by four Detroit Diesel 2-Cycle Series 71 engines. During the past four decades, the legendary reliability of the Series 71 has come to the rescue on many occasions, including four major earthquakes that have rocked the city. Thanks to the powerful diesel engines, the AWSS emergency pump stations have a rated pumping capacity of 2,700 gpm.

Water works: a house is doused with water pumped out of San Francisco Bay during a firefighting operation..

The legend continues

When it was time to repower, the San Francisco Fire Department decided on engines that would continue that legacy of dependability. This fall, four mtu Series 2000 engines will be installed at the pump station. mtu developed this newer, more powerful engine, in part, as a modern successor to those legendary 71s and acquired the entire Detroit Diesel 2-Cycle product line in 2006.

All sources of fire extinguished? A firefighter double-checks the burnt-out apartment.

California-based mtu distributor, Valley Power Systems Inc., will provide local support following the installation of the mtu 12V 2000 C12 engines, which are being built at mtu's Aiken, South Carolina, (USA) production facility. With more than 60 years of expertise, Valley will provide the AWSS with turnkey power engineering services, regulatory compliance assistance, and training and technical support, in addition to complete systems integration.

The whole street is clouded in black smoke. But the firefighters must never lose sight of their task.

"We have worked closely with all parties involved, including the city of San Francisco and the San Francisco Fire Department, to ensure great care is taken during the course of this project to protect the building's many historical features," said Tom Eastman, service manager, Valley Power Systems North Inc. "In addition to meeting several local, state and federal requirements for air quality, noise compliance and seismic safety, the engines also have the ability to be controlled and monitored remotely."

An important mission

"It gives us great pride to provide the power that will help the firefighters who rely on this critical emergency water supply system as they protect the lives of area residents," said Scott Woodruff, director of industrial engine sales, MTU America Inc. "Like the AWSS, mtu has a legacy of reliability. We are honored to have the opportunity to continue that legacy as an important part of the San Francisco public safety infrastructure."

Always on call

San Francisco's Auxiliary Water Supply System is designed solely for fire protection. It is capable of covering a city block with water to a depth of 25 ft in one day. If the system's fresh water system fails or is depleted, two emergency pumping stations can supplement the water supply with saltwater from San Francisco Bay.


Point of Contact

Paul Sparenberg
+1 248 560 8184
+1 24 8560 8184

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