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Portable Boiler Room and Backup Solutions for a Correctional Facility

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April 28, 2022

A correctional facility located in Pennsylvania is comprised of 76 operational buildings located on nearly 800 acres of land. Located within the secure, internal area of the prison alongside 17 inmate housing units is the facility’s Central Utility Building, or CUB, which houses the main steam boilers and emergency generators.

In 1953, the Department of Corrections took over the facility and updated the existing Central Utility Building with a new facility that housed three Keeler coal-fired boilers. These coal boilers remained in use for 50 years and were eventually paired with a modern Nebraska boiler. However, due to a lack of maintenance on all of these power sources, Powerhouse was called to provide quick solutions.

The Problem

In 2003, Phase I of a Department of General Services project began. This project called for a new 30,000pph Nebraska boiler paired with a Faber burner to supplement the existing coal boilers. At this point of the project however, funding fell short and the planned installation of new water softeners and upgrades to the chemical treatment system were pushed back to Phase 2 of the DGS project and eventually never occurred.

Making matters worse, it was discovered soon after commissioning the new Nebraska boiler that major repairs were required on all three of the original coal boilers. Following this discovery, the decision was made not to repair them and instead solely rely on the Nebraska boiler for the facility’s power. Without the necessary upgrades that would have provided soft water and proper chemical treatment to the boiler, in addition to there being no substantial annual maintenance, it wasn’t long before tube repairs were necessary. The facility was in desperate need of a backup.

The Solution

The Powerhouse was quickly contacted and supplied an emergency 350hp Portable Boiler Room to the correctional facility The unit was on-site and operational within a few days of the initial request, allowing the facility to avert disaster.

Following this immediate solution, there was still a need for a reliable permanent backup boiler despite the facility's limited funding. This part of the project was advertised for public bid by the DOC with the stipulation that bidders must provide funding from within and that the boiler must be installed within 90 days. Powerhouse won the bid for this project thanks in large part to their healthy financial status and the foresight of their Stock Boiler Inventory Program.

The Results

Despite the time-sensitive nature of the emergency request, Powerhouse was able to provide the much-needed service of emergency steam and reliable future steam to the correctional facility. Thinking outside the box and utilizing “teamwork” to provide multiple solutions to their clients has been the Powerhouse way for over 35 years.

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