CASE STUDY Power Generation

Baton Rouge Water delivers clean, safe water, despite hurricane

Posted on February 20, 2017

Hurricane Gustav, the second major hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, made landfall in south central Louisiana on September 1, causing flooding, wind damage and widespread power outages. At the peak of the storm, about 1.5 million people in Louisiana were without power and some outages lasted for weeks.


Baton Rouge Water


Generator sets totaling 4,550 kW at four major well sites



Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

If the electricity should go off again, we are very confident in the reliability of our water pumping system.

Patrick Kerr - president, Baton Rouge Water

In Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana, most residents were able to stay in their homes but were without power for days and some up to two weeks. Fortunately, they were able to enjoy a clean, safe water supply throughout their ordeal thanks to the planning and foresight of Baton Rouge Water (BRW). Standby generators from mtu helped the local water utility keep fresh water flowing. Together with its subsidiaries, BRW supplies approximately 500,000 residents with fresh drinking water pumped from 93 wells in Louisiana’s Southern Hills aquifer formation.

To ensure that its pumps keep running even when hurricanes strike, BRW has installed emergency and standby power generation systems from mtu at four major well sites. All told, these standby systems have a generating capacity of 4,550 kW. Soon, BRW will acquire an additional 900 kW mtu generator that will power a fifth well site and BRW’s main offices. BRW learned valuable lessons in the aftermath of powerful storms such as Hurricane Andrew, which hit Louisiana 16 years ago, and the infamous Hurricane Katrina in 2005, according to Patrick Kerr, the company’s president. After Andrew, BRW purchased an mtu generator set capable of running several wells. The original purchase was part of a project to study the feasibility of supplementing BRW’s direct-drive diesel-powered pumps with electric pumps powered by standby generators. “The mtu generator proved so capable when Katrina hit that we purchased three additional units and placed them in service,” Kerr says.
Each of the BRW sites has one 750–1,000 kW generator that powers several 200 hp water-well pumps. These outdoor generators include weatherprotective housings and sub-base fuel tanks.
When Hurricane Gustav hit Baton Rouge, the standby generators operated as designed, running four well sites continuously for up to eight days. “Even though the power was off in much of Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes after Hurricane Gustav, we kept the water flowing,” Kerr reports.
Based in part on the Gustav experience, Kerr believes BRW has the right standby generators in place to deal with future natural disasters: “If the electricity should go off again, we are very confident in the reliability of our water pumping system.”
Long experience with power outages caused by devastating storms has taught BRW to be prepared with backup generation for its wells. With help from its local mtu distributors and reliable mtu standby generators, Baton Rouge Water will continue to provide dependable service to its customers no matter what Mother Nature throws its way.