City of Tampa says water woes began with a squirrel - WFLA News Channel 8

City of Tampa says water woes began with a squirrel

Posted: Updated:
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

It started with a squirrel. A power outage at the city of Tampa's main water treatment plant began just after 5 A.M. Friday. The city says the problem began when a squirrel crawled into a pipe on a primary power line. The squirrel chewed through the line, and started a small fire. City director Brad Baird says the system is designed to switch over to a back up power line. The back up power comes from a separate power generating station from TECO. Baird says a workers were completing repairs to the first power line, the back up failed. Baird says the back up power line sagged, then wind blew it into another power line. Baird says, " It sagged to the point, where when the wind was blowing the lines got a little too close together and resulted in an arc."

Baird says when the line arced, it sent a surge through the system and caused an explosion and another fire at a switch that should have allowed back up generators to take over. Baird says, " When you have both systems, or both feeds shorting out and one of the shorts ended up burning up the switch that serves our standby power facilities, you had three unlikely events occur in a row."

The loss of power caused a loss of water pressure in throughout the city of Tampa. Baird says when there is no pressure in the system, ground water can penetrate cracks in underground water lines. As a result the health department advised the city to issue a precautionary boil water notice.

The notice caused several restaurants to close on Friday. Maggiano's Little Italy restaurant, and P.F. Changs at the Westshore Mall both closed. At Shells restaurant on Dale Mabry, manager John Christen says he had to scramble to stay open. Christen says, " We had to cash out all of our ice machines, go get sodas, bottled water, tea from publix."

Christen says he wasn't the only restaurant working to keep the doors open. Christen says, " When I went to wall mart I saw every single restaurant manager from Gandy to Hillsborough Boulevard or Hillsborough Avenue all getting their sodas and their waters."

The city of Tampa says they've already received calls from some business owners looking to recover damages from the loss of water. The city says those calls are being referred to the risk management department, but it is not clear yet if the city will pay for business losses.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Removal of tons of stinky rice near Port of Tampa begins

    Removal of tons of stinky rice near Port of Tampa begins

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:06 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:06:23 GMT
    The nasty stench near the Port of Tampa may get better soon. Dump trucks worked to remove some of the 1,000 tons of rotting rice on the private land Wednesday. 8 On Your Side discovered the shipment of bad rice, rotting under tarps on property owned by Tampa Marine Terminals on Tuesday.
    The nasty stench near the Port of Tampa may get better soon. Dump trucks worked to remove some of the 1,000 tons of rotting rice on the private land Wednesday. 8 On Your Side discovered the shipment of bad rice, rotting under tarps on property owned by Tampa Marine Terminals on Tuesday.
  • SAFETY ALERT: Saltwater bacteria kills 1 in Sarasota

    SAFETY ALERT: Saltwater bacteria kills 1 in Sarasota

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:50 PM EDT2014-07-30 19:50:00 GMT
    WFLA file photo.WFLA file photo.
    A death in Sarasota County has health officials reminding people about a bacteria in Florida's coastal waters that has the potential to cause serious illness, even death. Other counties in Tampa Bay have reported cases of Vibrio vulnificus.
    A death in Sarasota County has health officials reminding people about a bacteria in Florida's coastal waters that has the potential to cause serious illness, even death. Other counties in Tampa Bay have reported cases of Vibrio vulnificus.
  • An app that repels mosquitoes? We test it.

    An app that repels mosquitoes? We test it.

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:53 AM EDT2014-07-30 15:53:07 GMT
    Now, there's an app that claims to keep mosquitoes away. You can download the anti-mosquito sonic repeller on your smart phone.
    Now, there's an app that claims to keep mosquitoes away. You can download the anti-mosquito sonic repeller on your smart phone.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Removal of tons of stinky rice near Port of Tampa begins

    Removal of tons of stinky rice near Port of Tampa begins

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:06 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:06:23 GMT
    The nasty stench near the Port of Tampa may get better soon. Dump trucks worked to remove some of the 1,000 tons of rotting rice on the private land Wednesday. 8 On Your Side discovered the shipment of bad rice, rotting under tarps on property owned by Tampa Marine Terminals on Tuesday.
    The nasty stench near the Port of Tampa may get better soon. Dump trucks worked to remove some of the 1,000 tons of rotting rice on the private land Wednesday. 8 On Your Side discovered the shipment of bad rice, rotting under tarps on property owned by Tampa Marine Terminals on Tuesday.
  • SWAT team invades wrong house, Sarasota woman files lawsuit

    SWAT team invades wrong house, Sarasota woman files lawsuit

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:00 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:00:51 GMT
    Louise Goldsberry shows where she spotted the swat team before they entered her home Louise Goldsberry shows where she spotted the swat team before they entered her home
    In July 2013, Louise Goldsberry was washing dishes in her Sarasota apartment when she saw a camouflaged man with a large weapon outside her window.
    In July 2013, Louise Goldsberry was washing dishes in her Sarasota apartment when she saw a camouflaged man with a large weapon outside her window.
  • Closing arguments wrap up in McTear trial

    Closing arguments wrap up in McTear trial

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 4:33 PM EDT2014-07-30 20:33:43 GMT
    Attorneys had one last chance to try to sway jurors Wednesday before they deliberate if Richard McTear is guilty of throwing a baby out of a car window onto I-275.
    Attorneys had one last chance to try to sway jurors Wednesday before they deliberate if Richard McTear is guilty of throwing a baby out of a car window onto I-275.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Dramatic doggie makeovers put new face to pet adoption

    Dramatic doggie makeovers put new face to pet adoption

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:14 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:14:31 GMT
    What a difference a bath can make! Millions of shelter dogs across the United States just need a little bit of grooming and TLC in order to shine, as evidenced by these photos.
    What a difference a bath can make! Millions of shelter dogs across the United States just need a little bit of grooming and TLC in order to shine, as evidenced by these photos.
  • 8 ways to save on groceries without coupons

    8 ways to save on groceries without coupons

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:07 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:07:49 GMT
    Wikimedia Commons photo by Eja2kWikimedia Commons photo by Eja2k
    ShopSmart magazine sent undercover shoppers through grocery store aisles and discovered plenty of ways to lower your grocery bill.
    ShopSmart magazine sent undercover shoppers through grocery store aisles and discovered plenty of ways to lower your grocery bill.
  • Couple's selfie photobombed by lightning bolt

    Couple's selfie photobombed by lightning bolt

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:56 AM EDT2014-07-29 15:56:28 GMT
    A couple vacationing in Mexico was almost hit by lightning, a few sources including Washington Post reported Tuesday.
    A couple vacationing in Mexico was almost hit by lightning, a few sources including Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.