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Billings team 'responded to the call' for city

By Bernardo Fallas
Phillips 66 Corporate Communications

Quick action by employees from the Phillips 66 Billings Refinery helped the City of Billings maintain water supply amid recent historic flooding in Montana.

When a nearby utility substation flooded, forcing the city’s water treatment plant to run on generator power and risk disrupting supply, Emergency Response Team Lead Ben Adelman, I&E Superintendent Adam McAbee and Metalworkers/Craftsmen JT SannonJim Hoiland and Andrew Reiter wasted no time answering the call to assist. They leveraged refinery equipment and set up a pumping system to remove water from the area and flow it back into the Yellowstone River.

Their actions allowed the water treatment plant to return to its main source of power and remain operational, even as the Yellowstone River, which winds through Billings and is a stone throw’s away from the refinery, reached record-high levels from the 500-year flooding event.

"We responded to the call and showed up ready to work. We did what we needed to do to keep 150,000 people from losing their water supply,” Adelman said of the response.

Record rainfall in June and rapid snowmelt caused rivers in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho to rise, washing away roads, bridges and other infrastructure and causing widespread flooding in the region. The floods forced Yellowstone National Park to close for over a week because of washed-out roads.

The City of Billings escaped with minimal damage, unlike other towns in the region. The Billings Refinery sustained operations throughout the flooding event in part thanks to the action from the Phillips 66 employees coming to the aid of the local public works department to ensure reliable water supply to the community and site.

“The Billings Refinery has a long history of outstanding relations with the City of Billings and the community in general,” Maintenance Manager Mike Baker said. “We are proud of the partnership we have with our neighbors and are pleased that some of our skilled craftsmen and talented emergency response personnel were able to help the city avert a potential water supply disruption.”