Thorsby works to repair water system after lightning strikes

Published 9:49 am Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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Issues following Thorsby’s water supply being struck by lightning late last week are being resolved.

The topic was the primary one at a regular meeting of the Town Council on Monday.

When lightning struck water lines in multiple locations, water was vaporized, producing steam that caused pipes to burst.

Water service to Thorsby residents and businesses was reduced to a trickle.

The problem was exacerbated by the fact that a crew is in the process of cleaning and repainting the town’s water tank, so the tank was not available as a backup source of water.

Public Works Director Terry Jackson and city workers were able to restore water service over the weekend by patching the leaks and managing the town’s series of pumps, which fortunately were not affected by the lightning.

Some issues were still being addressed Monday evening, and some residents might experience discolored water for a time.

Thorsby Fire Chief Lee Gunn discussed the water tank repainting project during his report, after updating the council about work on the department’s rescue truck.

Gunn said he visited with the crew working on the tank and requested a confined space work permit and contingency plan, per OSHA regulations.

The needed documents weren’t available on site, but the crew’s employers out of state subsequently produced the permit and plan, Gunn said.

In addition to the documents being required by OSHA, Gunn said he wanted to ensure the workers’ safety and told the council he was working with the company to have a plan in place.

Gunn also talked about his department’s need to recruit new members, as enrollment is down to 15 members from a needed level of 20 members.

In other business, the council:

•Was presented a draft of the budget for Fiscal Year 2014-15. Mayor Jean Nelson asked the council members to review the budget and bring any proposed changes to the next meeting, which is scheduled for Oct. 6.

•Approved donating $1,500 to the Chilton County Humane Society to help with the refurbishing of the shelter’s incinerator.

•Approved donating $500 to Chilton Education Foundation, which distributes PEECH grants to instructors around the county each year.

•Tabled a decision about allowing a company to install fiber optic cables through town, along the Highway 31 corridor.

•Approved the minutes from the Sept. 2 meeting and paying of the bills with any necessary transfer of funds.