Cracking GA Water Tower Repairs Announced
Officials in Griffin, Georgia, have stated that rehabilitation work will begin on the city’s Griffin Water Tower after workers determine the cause of a recent crack in the tank.
According to reports, water was seen and caught on video as it drained at a rate of four feet per hour from the tower, which sits near the Griffin Memorial Stadium on East Poplar Street.
A report from Fox 5 Atlanta added that images and videos of the water tower circulated in the city of nearly 24,000 residents at the time of the incident last week. Videos appeared to show the water gushing from the bottom of the tank near one of the seams.
Wild! Employees hear loud "boom" before Griffin water tower leak. Crews are still working to figure out the cause of the leak. Some say it knocked pictures off the walls at nearby businesses. https://t.co/X14tetdJAR pic.twitter.com/ykV2nAln9u— Cody Alcorn (@CodyAlcorn) February 1, 2024
In an initial WSB report, locals told reporters that an explosion could be heard before people began to see water coming out of the tank.
“About 3:30 we heard a loud boom—like, an explosion-type boom—and we were all like, 'what in the heck?'” said Jessica Hammond, a local business owner. “As we were standing out there waiting for the fire trucks, you could hear the bolts like popping out of the tower.”
One video posted by the city to its Facebook page shows officials explaining to residents that there would be no adverse impact to the drinking water and that no boil water notice would be issued.
“This tank issue has no adverse effect on water quality. There is no reason for a boil water advisory or any water quality concern. This tank will be inspected by a structural engineer, repaired, and disinfected prior to returning it to service,” the city said in a statement.
A report from Atlanta News First adds that, in response to the incident, the city shut down streets near the tower. Firefighters also reportedly evacuated around 100 employees and customers of nearby businesses and cleared the area around the spill as a precaution.
A separate report from 11 Alive says that Sarah Faulkner, who works with Hammond, said that their office is very close to the $1 million tower tower, causing employees to evacuate the building.
"It was pretty chaotic watching everybody go in and out of the building trying to grab all of their things," Faulkner said, adding that first responders showed up shortly after.
Officials told residents that there is enough water in the reservoir for use, making the possibility of a water outage unlikely. Additionally, structural engineers are scheduled to inspect the tank and will be making the necessary repairs.
Some residents expressed concerns over if the entire water tower would collapse after the cracks were spotted.
“Luckily it didn’t fall over or anything, because that was our main concern,” said business owner Linor Allen.
“I wasn’t taking it very seriously, but when I came outside and seen it streaming out of the tower, I was thinking, ‘Whoa this is serious.’ That’s when I got into my car and tried to get out as quickly as possible,” said business owner Ashley Pike.
According to reports, around 800,000 gallons of water leaked from the tower or was drained. Most of the water reportedly went through an underground storm drain and flowed to a nearby creek, causing the flooding to be minimal.
Griffin City Manager Jessica O’Connor stated that workers are trying to determine the cause of the crack, closely examining other seams in the tank to make sure they are not at risk of failing. She also said the tower structure is safe.
“Foundationally it is good to go. There is no danger of collapse and they are still checking it,” said O'Connor. She added that the city has several water sources, so there should be no disruption of service while the 70-year-old water tower is being inspected and repaired.
In addition to the worries over a structural collapse, residents were reportedly also wary of the potential damage that the cracking and draining of the tower could do to the nearby cemetery.
At the moment, there has been no word on a timeline for when the repairs will be complete.