U.S. Water News Online
COLUMBUS, Ga. — A 6-million-gallon water tank collapsed recently, sending a torrent down a hill into a roadway and damaging power transmission structures that hold high voltage lines.
The open-top steel tank, the largest in Muscogee County, was on a hill at the Columbus Water Works treatment facility between River Road and J.R. Allen. It failed shortly before 4 a.m.
Water Works President Bob Tant said the collapse did not disrupt the city's water supply. Tant says an investigation has begun to determine the cause of the failure.
Robert Watkins, external affairs manager for Georgia Power Co. in Columbus, says power to the 115,000 volt lines and a nearby substation was cut off.
Power to homes was not disrupted, but it could take up to four days to repair the damage.
Water rushed off the hill in multiple directions. The bulk of the water went toward J.R. Allen, onto the eastbound lane, then into a storm drain and toward the city marina. Some went onto other streets, where some homes appeared to suffer minor water damage. It also damaged landscaping and fencing on the Water Works property.
A vacant vehicle with North Carolina license plates was found near the city marina off River Road. Police were still trying to figure out the vehicle belonged to, Columbus Police Lt. Jennifer Dunford said.
One motorist drove into the debris on J.R. Allen and was slightly injured, Dunford said.
Two large metal power poles just north of the tank site were leaning at a 60-degree angle. The poles hold transmission lines that transmit high voltages.
The metal tank, which was a long line of crumpled steel, was at the bottom of the hill.
The tank was constructed in 1965 and regularly inspected, Tant said.
“This is a very unusual and strange situation,” Tant said.