One year after water tank collapse

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - One year ago this week emergency crews were cleaning up millions of gallons of water after a Columbus Water Works tank collapsed.

This time last year the scene on River Road looked much different as six million gallons of water ran down the hill, and parts of the giant water tank took down trees and slid into the street.

The mess has been cleaned up and two more tanks now stand in the place where the old tank was before the collapse.

Columbus Water Works Senior Vice-President Jim Patterson said, "This time last year we were very fortunate in a way, that the tank collapse happened the time of day and the day of the week it did. The damage was less extensive than it would have been during rush hour."

In the early morning hours of April 25th 2009, a six million gallon water tank collapsed, spilling its contents and leaving a trail of debris.

"The weld in one of the seams broke apart and it was like a zipper after that, it just ripped up the side of the tank and the whole wall separated and the tank completely collapsed," Patterson explained.

The clean-up efforts took about three months and now two four million gallon concrete tanks stand in its place.

Patterson told News Leader Nine, "We built two tanks in the place of the one we had before. This gives us additional capacity, more flexibility in the way we operate and makes it more efficient and will save us money."

Patterson says that although he would never wish for a tank collapse to happen, it did teach everyone at Columbus Water Works and important lesson, "It was an exercise in emergency response and I think we responded well but we always learn how we did things and how to do them better in the future."

Of the two new tanks, one of those is already up and running. Contractors tell News Leader Nine the other one should be complete within the next few months, which makes Columbus Water Works proud that everything was cleaned up, and functional within a year of the incident.

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