September 9, 2011

SAN DIEGO BLACKOUT FOLLOWUP: Sewer, water problems highlight utility weak spots. “Thursday’s electrical outage did more than expose vulnerabilities in the region’s power system. It also highlighted the lack of backup power at some sewer and water pump stations across the county. Boil water orders were issued in several San Diego neighborhoods and more than 2 million gallons of sewage fouled the city’s coastline when key pieces of infrastructure failed.”

I’ve written about the need to harden systems against breakdowns so that they fail gracefully if they fail. Send these guys a book on resilience engineering. (I actually have this one. It’s pretty good).

Meanwhile reader Roger Bogh writes: “Finally all that Y2K yak provided some benefit. I work at a computer center and was the Y2K czar before the proliferation of czars under the current White House occupant – known as ‘The Black Swan Event President’. When I heard that power would be interrupted for 12+ hours I warned the folks to fill their tubs and buy bottled water. My friends thought I was nuts! Now, I can ask them how they like tasty organic matter traipsing about in their ‘precious bodily fluids’.”

And here’s a post on low-budget disaster preparedness.

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