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Saturday, 31 January 2009 19:00

Water, Water Everywhere

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LAST JUNE, AFTER MASSIVE STORMS AND RECORD rainfall in eastern Iowa, flood waters from the Cedar River finally overwhelmed the levees in Waterloo, IA, causing widespread damage in the community. Alliant Energy, one of FBG Service Corporation’s long-time customers, was among those hit the hardest by the disaster.

Though an estimated eight feet of water filled the company’s downtown headquarters building at one point, the Alliant Energy Cedar Rapids operations facility sustained perhaps the worst damage of any facility, overwhelmed with up to six feet of water throughout the first level. The widespread damage presented a monumental cleanup challenge.

We knew that early response was the key. “Being onsite with our client was vital,” recalled Steve Simmonds, FBG utilities branch manager. “To be able to appreciate, first hand, what our clients are experiencing and to help with the situation isn’t just beneficial, it’s necessary. It involves moral support as much as maintenance support.” Anticipating the worst, FBG Regional Manager Tom Montgomery set up an emergency operation center to organize response crews, secure resources and make all the necessary preparations. These included staging areas for the crews with additional equipment such as hard hats, PPE and body suits, and a designated “clean area” to direct efforts. When the water subsided, FBG’s emergency response team went to work.

Terry Shields with Alliant Energy Facility Services was impressed and said, “Many businesses were struggling to pull together the [necessary] resources, but due to our strong partnership with FBG, we had a small army onsite within 48 hours.” Following city guidelines on waste disposal, FBG was able to direct cleanup more effectively and optimize salvage efforts. Breakout-point staging areas were created to separate metal recyclables, electronics and environmental waste from the general waste stream. The Alliant Energy environmental department advised the team on distribution, recycling and disposal-location sites.
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Desiccant dehumidifiers were brought in to dry the facility’s interior areas. According to Simmonds, the industrial machines were so powerful, “it was like blowing Phoenix air onto the floors – it’s that hot and dry – and played a major role in the success of the entire cleanup effort.” Shields added: “The speed and thoroughness of the FBG restoration team enabled us to reinhabit [the building] well before most companies were able to even begin the restoration process. Our thanks go out to all on the FBG team for going above and beyond.”

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CBSE, is president of FBG Service Corporation, which has offices in Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska. She can be reached at (403) 346-4422.

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