Rockland Electric Adds 'Muscle' to Its Storm-Hardening Programs

Rockland Electric Company significantly strengthened its electric delivery system today when its technicians installed the energy company’s newest storm-hardening equipment at its electric substation in Cresskill.

“Muscle Wall” is the brand name of the white, plastic, flood-prevention barrier that now lines the inside of the substation’s perimeter fence. The barrier is designed to protect the substation in the event the wetlands adjacent to the Cresskill substation flood. Those flood waters could threaten the facility’s operations and, consequently, the surrounding community’s electric service.

Rockland Electric’s Vice President — Operations Francis Peverly said, “Muscle Wall is a proven flood control system that provides a necessary added level of protection for a critical community facility. The Muscle Wall is practical, easy to install, durable and a far more cost-effective solution than more labor-intensive conventional barrier solutions.”

Rockland Electric purchased the Muscle Wall Flood and Containment Solution for both its Cresskill and Upper Saddle River substations for $300,000. That sum was approved last January by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) for post-Sandy electric system storm-hardening projects. Upper Saddle River’s Muscle Wall is due to be installed before the end of the year.

The new wall, which resembles a “Jersey Barrier” traffic control structure, is constructed of 75 interlocking 110-pound, hollow, plastic slotted blocks, four-feet-tall and six feet long. The blocks, which are strapped tightly together with plastic web harnesses, have an extended foot on the outside-facing side that acts as a foundation to anchor each piece in place.

Today, through the cooperation of the Cresskill Fire Department, those hollow blocks were partially filled with water to increase their weight and stability. The blocks are partially filled to allow for the inevitable ice formation and freeze expansion that cold weather brings. The blocks will be further secured when Rockland Electric places 600 cinder blocks at the base of the new wall later this week.

In the event severe weather forecasts predict that flood waters could endanger the substation’s operations, Rockland Electric would deploy technicians to the site to install the final step in the Muscle Wall process: a heavy plastic tarp, much like a swimming pool liner, would be installed to cover the plastic blocks. The tarp would be strapped and clipped into place over the blocks to provide the final level of protection against flood waters.

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