Rising to the occasion of substation flood protection

FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiary Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L) has completed specially designed, 4-ft. flood walls to protect the Sussex and Canoe Brook substations in Sussex and Essex counties, N.J. The structures are engineered to help curtail power outages by preventing water from reaching substation property and equipment.

Crews test the newly erected Canoe Brook substation flood wall in November 2020, aiming to have the structure in service by year end. PHOTOS: FirstEnergy Corp.

A cast-in-place, L-shaped concrete wall with an automatic, waterproof gate protects each substation. Pressure from rising water causes the gate to raise up automatically, protecting the equipment within the substation with no need for electronic sensors and switches or operator action. Work at the Sussex substation was completed earlier in 2020, while construction of the Canoe Brook substation flood wall was set for completion by year end.

“Identifying and addressing the potential for flooding that can impact our substations and cause outages for customers has been an area of focus for JCP&L,” says Vice President of Operations Alex Patton. “Construction of these specially designed substation walls helps eliminate the flooding concern and advances our ongoing efforts to ensure more resilient electricity for our customers through the JCP&L Reliability Plus infrastructure improvement plan.”

Located within a designated flood zone in Clove Brook, N.J., the Sussex and Canoe Brook substations were strategically chosen to receive the mitigation measures based on a history of flooding. Following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, JCP&L installed a similar flood wall system with two automatic gates at its Monmouth Beach substation, which has since experienced no significant breaches. The three substations are part of the infrastructure through which JCP&L serves 1.1 million customers in 13 New Jersey counties.