D200214 hartselle water

A pump failure Wednesday at Hartselle Utilities' Water Booster Station off U.S. 31 near Kayo Road threatened the city's ability to resupply its water storage system. [DAN BUSEY/DECATUR DAILY]

HARTSELLE — Hartselle Utilities’ water system was back in operation and pumping water to Hartselle customers by Thursday morning, according to HU General Manager Bob Sittason.

After the service restoration, HU canceled requests made Wednesday night for customers to conserve water.

Hartselle Utilities restored electrical power to the water booster stations at the foot of Hartselle Mountain on Thursday morning and was able to safely operate the pumping equipment and supply water to Hartselle’s water system and storage tanks, as in normal operations. 

Operations resumed close to 8:30 a.m., about 12 hours after HU responded to the problem, Sittason said. 

It was initially believed that the rising floodwaters at Flint Creek north of Hartselle had backed up into both booster stations, creating an electrical hazard.

“But once we were able to gain access to the second facility, we realized we had a pump failure,” Sittason said. “Water was being discharged in one building and flowing to the other one.”

A part in the pump, an expansion joint, had failed, allowing water to be discharged, he said, and a replacement part was ordered Thursday and the pump will be repaired as soon as it arrives. 

When crews were able to isolate the problem, “water valves that feed the boosters were closed off to stop the flow of water, and it was a matter of drying out the control panels so we could re-energize the system,” he said.

Hartselle City Schools, one of the utilities’ largest customers, closed Thursday because of the uncertainty over whether there would be an adequate supply of water. Schools planned to reopen today, according to Superintendent Dee Dee Jones.

“It’s a 20-year-old facility and this is the first time we have ever experienced anything like this,” Sittason said. “It was an unforeseen event.”

marian.accardi@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2438. Twitter @DD_MAccardi.

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