Breaking News
More () »

Odessa looking into better training, safety measures for water tower work

After a fitting got loose while work was being done on a water tower, Odessa plans to make sure the tank is drained for future projects.

ODESSA, Texas — On Oct. 7, the water tower off 93rd and Rainbow was being worked on when a fitting got loose and caused about 500,000 gallons of water to drain from the tank.

It was an uncommon leak that needed fixing, which is one reason why the water wasn't shut off while work was being done.

"We don’t often run into these leaks on the base of the tank, so it’s not a routine I would say, operation, but it was something that we deal with," Thomas Kerr, Odessa's director of public works and utilities, said. "The type of pipework and everything, we generally would not do it with the tank hot."

Kerr explained that when the tank is "hot" that means that water is running through the pipes, as it was while the workers were working.

Now, the city of Odessa plans to make sure that the tank won't be hot during those kinds of repair jobs.

"In future cases, whenever we’re dealing with that pipeline, that type of system, or the tank, we would always expect to drain the tank first and do it without pressure and water on us," Kerr said.

That's not the only change the city is planning to make. They plan to have more specific training in the event that something like what happened on Oct. 7 happens again.

"We will evaluate the situation that has occurred," Kerr said. "We’ve already been looking at talking to the staff on the incident, and we will have a safety training associated with this, better methods for us to make sure that we don’t run into those kinds of conditions again."

Should work that requires the tank to be shut off be done in the future, people should not worry about their water being shut off.

"We normally can pressure off of the pump station that we have, the Yukon pump station, and so we can be maintained in pressure," Kerr said. "You don’t want to do it for an extended period of time. You’re more likely to have a line break and things like that occur."