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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities
Pipes,insulation and  lagging (metal) above boiler number two.The one pipe rupture released 900 pounds of saturated steam, bursting through the insulation and metal.

Starting the New Year with a bang

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Jan. 21, 2016 

The holidays are a time to look forward to time off from work to spend with family and friends. During this time, Michigan State University Infrastructure Planning and Facilities (IPF) employees are on-call. Although calls don’t happen often, Corey Sanders, IPF power plant mechanic III received an emergency call on Dec. 24. One of the five boilers located in the T.B. Simon Power Plant had ruptured. The boilers provide power and heat to the MSU campus.

“The boiler equipment is designed to isolate from the rest of the plant under these conditions thus preventing a total plant shutdown,” said Ron Rushing, IPF operations supervisor.

The rupture released 900 pounds of saturated steam and burst through the insulation and lagging (metal covering). The T.B. Simon power plant has a minimum of five employees at all times for operation. The operations crew, led by Claude Phelps, IPF stationary engineer I, secured boiler number two shortly after the tube ruptured. 

“My operations crew is trained and highly skilled to react when an incident like this occurs. Plant recovery to resume normal operations was within 30 minutes,” said Rushing.

Once the boiler was isolated, the crews were able to maintain the power plant’s levels without any issues.    

“First thing, I came in to lockout the equipment, meaning I locked the breakers and made the boiler safe to work on,” said Sanders. 

On Dec. 26, Sanders and the contractor came in to assess the damage and parts needed to fix the boiler in the quickest way. Within two weeks the boiler was fixed and operational. 

“Sanders spent a lot of his holiday at the plant working on the boiler; a huge kudos to him,” said Kirk Marble, skilled trades supervisor. 

A huge kudos to Sanders and the power plant employees who worked together to fix the boiler and keep campus running smoothly.

A severed and ruptured piece of piping from boiler number two. Pipes,insulation and  lagging (metal) above boiler number two.The one pipe rupture released 900 pounds of saturated steam, bursting through the insulation and metal. Pipes,insulation and  lagging (metal) above boiler number two.The one pipe rupture released 900 pounds of saturated steam, bursting through the insulation and metal. A pipe from boiler number two, which bent from the pressure released and eventually broke off. Boiler number two fixed and put back together.