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Vectrus repairs water treatment plant after flood

Published Jan. 17, 2020
Flood water overtakes the water treatment plant during the morning of Dec. 25, 2019, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The water level rose to unsafe levels as rain continued to fall during a storm. (Courtesy Photo)

Flood water overtakes the water treatment plant during the morning of Dec. 25, 2019, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The water level rose to unsafe levels as rain continued to fall during a storm. (Courtesy Photo)

The water treatment plant is seen here after extensive cleaning Jan. 15, 2020, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The facility was able to resume normal operations after pumps and electronics were dried and repaired. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Trevor Gordnier)

The water treatment plant is seen here after extensive cleaning Jan. 15, 2020, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The facility was able to resume normal operations after pumps and electronics were dried and repaired. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Trevor Gordnier)

Water rises in the water treatment plant office before evacuation Dec. 25, 2019, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Water damage preventative measures were taken by employees before the water continued to rise, such as moving documents and electronics to higher places. (Courtesy Photo)

Water rises in the water treatment plant office before evacuation Dec. 25, 2019, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Water damage preventative measures were taken by employees before the water continued to rise, such as moving documents and electronics to higher places. (Courtesy Photo)

The water treatment plant is seen here after the flood Dec. 25, 2019, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Even after the water drained, more cleaning was required to return the facility to normal operations. (Courtesy Photo)

The water treatment plant is seen here after the flood Dec. 25, 2019, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Even after the water drained, more cleaning was required to return the facility to normal operations. (Courtesy Photo)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Harry Thulstrup, 39th Civil Engineer Squadron water and fuels systems maintainer, points out how high the water rose during the flood on Christmas day Jan. 15, 2020, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Though water reached five feet inside of the plant, the outside area was much deeper. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Trevor Gordnier)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Harry Thulstrup, 39th Civil Engineer Squadron water and fuels systems maintainer, points out how high the water rose during the flood on Christmas day Jan. 15, 2020, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Though water reached five feet inside of the plant, the outside area was much deeper. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Trevor Gordnier)

Vectrus contractors worked to combat the impact of floods that occurred at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Dec. 24 to 25, 2019.

Approximately 9.8 inches of rain fell in only two days, overloading the drainage system and flooding low elevation locations on base. Some base personnel had no other choice but to move to higher ground.

“Everything was in disarray,” said David Shick, Vectrus water treatment plant project manager. “Office furniture was upside-down – it was a natural disaster.”

Shick and 12 other employees evacuated the water treatment plant once the water began to rise, after taking water damage preventative measures such as moving documents and electronics to higher places.

The water level reached five feet inside the plant thoroughly soaking lab equipment, electronic panels and water pump motors.

 Once the water drained from the plant there was still a lot of flood damage. With an inoperable water treatment plant, clean water is not available on base. Fortunately, the water treatment plant team did not have to repair the damage alone.

“Over 50 Vectrus employees were working and helping clean the water treatment plant,” said Shick.

After cleaning, their next priority was salvaging and fixing parts in order to keep the plant operational.

“We had to get the electrical panels cleaned up, get the pumps and motors online, get the transformer dried out, get the generator working and restoring power – it was a lot of work,” said Shick.

This was the course of action employees had to take due to plant siting at the lowest elevation on the base. The increase of rain over the past couple of years in the area has also played a role in the flood.

Tech. Sgt. Harry Thulstrup, 39th Civil Engineer Squadron water and fuels systems maintainer, spoke about past rainfall in the area.

“It happened last year so it’s becoming a trend,” said Thulstrup, “It’s not just an issue here, it’s an issue (in Adana) due to the large amount of rain.”

After all was said and done, Vectrus got the water treatment plant back up and running in about 24 hours, restoring clean water to all the base’s facilities and housing units.