Town of Valdese, NC
Arc Flash Study
McGill conducted an arc flash study for both the water and wastewater treatment plants for the Town of Valdese. The study also included four water support facilities and five wastewater collection facilities. A device coordination study, fault current study, device duty, and PPE recommendations for plant staff were included as part of the study.
The most common challenge with an arc flash study is educating people about the dangers associated with an event. Also, another common challenge with arc flash studies at industrial facilities, such as water or wastewater treatment plants, is that they operate 24 hours a day. Over the years, electrical systems change and evolve. Sometimes change is planned and other times it quickly occurs due to failure of equipment. When unplanned events happen and changes are made to the electrical system, those changes typically do not end up on a set of record drawings or plans. Collecting the field data and reflecting that accurately in a model is very important in these studies and these undocumented changes can take time to track down and verify in the field.
McGill works closely with our clients and maintenance staff on the electrical system and helps them understand projects and changes over the years. We are fortunate that, in some cases, employees have a wealth of institutional knowledge, having seen all the changes in the electrical system over the years. However, that is not always the case and we turn those situations into a learning and educational experience for those staff members to gain insight into their systems. We also teach people how to eliminate or mitigate arc flash hazards to employees.
The provided arc flash study and labeling is compliant with OSHA and NEC 70E standards. This helps plant and operations staff be aware of the risk when working on or around energized electrical equipment.
“At the end of the day, arc flash safety is about one thing – making sure your employees go home safe to their families.”
Arc Flash: What is it?
It is estimated that five to ten arc flash incidents occur each day in the United States. An arc flash is an explosion caused by an arc of electrical energy between phase to ground (energized part and grounded part) or phase to phase (energized part to energized part). These potentially fatal explosions occur for a variety of reasons, such as improperly maintained equipment and lack safety precautions.