It took the cooperation of three agencies and some surplus military equipment, but if the power goes out, Goodman will have water.

It took the cooperation of three agencies and some surplus military equipment, but if the power goes out, Goodman will have water.

On Thursday afternoon, representatives from the Goodman Area Fire Protection District, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the city of Goodman gathered to officially dedicate a 100K generator set at the city’s pump station 2.

For the past couple years getting a generator to run water service in Goodman has been a priority for both the city and the fire department. The new generator is on permanent loan to the city water works so firefighters will have water access in case of power outage. Volunteers worked late to get it installed Jan. 25, anticipating an ice storm instead of a blizzard.

“I hope we never have to use it,” said Bud Richmond, assistant fire chief, but there can be summer outages too, he noted. “We had quite a time of getting this and I’m sure glad conservation could come up with this for us so if we have a power outage we have water.”

The generator was originally military surplus. Rural fire departments are eligible for surplus military units through the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Firefighter Property Program. The de-militarized generator arrived in military green and without the oil filters and batteries, but firefighters switched those units to their more commercially available counterparts and painted it. They put in about 50 hours of work to get it up and running. A new unit would have come with a $35,000 price tag.

“We’ve got maybe $1,000 in it, plus a lot of labor,” said Jim Morgan, who, with David Todd did the bulk of the labor, “It’s well worth it.”

The Goodman Area Fire Department has a total of five generators from 5KW to 100KWs from the MDC Firefighter Property Program, as well as several vehicles and other equipment.  

“We acquire these from military bases and the fire departments puts in a request,” MDC’s Terry Cook explained. “They’ve done a remarkable job with some of these vehicles.”

“It’s saved us a lot of money over the years,” Todd said of the program.

The department has rebuilt ex-military trucks, and received chains, shovels and other hardware over the years.

“You can’t even count all that stuff,” he said. “The stuff they provide for us – it’s phenomenal.”

“We get a lot of materials from them that we’d otherwise do without,” added Morgan Long.

Also through the program they have several tanker trailers parked to use as water reservoirs at their new station site. The slab has been bid and as soon as it is dry enough, Morgan said, the contractor will start work.
The MDC also awarded them up to $3,000 on a 50/50 match grant for three 2,000-gallon portable drop tanks and 20 sets of wildland gear for grassfires.

Between their two water towers the city has a 125,000-gallon capacity. The have backup generators already at the line station, keeping sewer operational. Goodman city supervisor David Brodie estimated the city can last 14-16 hours of power outage without needing the pump. On average they pump 75,000-105,000 gallons of water a day.

“It’s one less thing I have to worry about,” Brodie said. “When the power goes off, I’ll just go monitor the amount of water in the tower and that magic moment I’ll hit the button.”

Before receiving the new generator, when the power went out Brodie would call Tiff City Pump and hope to be first on the list. Now, many cities are putting them on retainer to get to the top of the list, something Goodman could not afford.

 The city only ran dry once. During the 2007 ice storm, it had power for two days at the larger tower, but when that went down they were at the bottom of the list to rent a generator. They had no power for eight days and eventually the county brought in a generator that was rotated between cities.

The fire department started working toward a water solution, ending with the generator’s dedication.

“It’s something we’re real proud of,” Long said.