A team of structural engineers climbed up to look inside a water storage tank in Griffin Thursday, trying to determine what caused the tank to crack Wednesday afternoon.
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The split in the tank near a metal seam caused hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to spill, threatening a building next door that is home to dozens of small businesses, including restaurants.
Some residents worried the entire water tower might collapse.
“Luckily it didn’t fall over or anything because that was our main concern,” said business owner Linor Allen.
As a precaution, firefighters evacuated around 100 employees and customers of the businesses and cleared the area around the spill.
“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.
An estimated 800,000 gallons of water leaked from the water or was drained. Most of the water went through an underground storm drain and was carried to a nearby creek, so flooding was minimal.
The city manager says they are trying to determine the cause of the crack, and 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 Griffin City Manager Jessica O’Connor.
O’Connor said 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.
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