Weber Basin Pump station geyser blows with break that causes estimated $500,000 in damages

Jun 25 2013 - 1:06am

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A broken coupling resulted in water shooting through the roof of a Weber Basin water pumping station in Riverdale on Monday.  The incident caused an estimated $500,000 in damages at the building.

(Photo courtesy of Kristina Wilcox)
A pipe crashed into a tank containing water treatment chemicals on Monday at a Weber Basin pumping station in Riverdale. 

(ANDREAS RIVERA/Standard-Examiner)
A broken coupling resulted in water shooting through the roof of a Weber Basin water pumping station in Riverdale on Monday.  The incident caused an estimated $500,000 in damages at the building.

(Photo courtesy of Kristina Wilcox)
A pipe crashed into a tank containing water treatment chemicals on Monday at a Weber Basin pumping station in Riverdale. 

(ANDREAS RIVERA/Standard-Examiner)

RIVERDALE -- A Weber Basin water pumping station was severely damaged Monday after a steel coupling came loose for unknown reasons.

Reports of water shooting 60 feet into the air were called in around 1 p.m. near 700 West and Riverdale Road.

No one was injured and no one was working inside the building at the time of the burst.

The coupling somehow failed, dislodging a section of steel pipe, said Brad Nelson, treated drinking water manager for Weber Basin Water Conservancy District. The pipe, which weighed 500 to 600 pounds was thrown several feet across the room and crashed into a tank meant for pumping chlorine, he said. None of the chemicals, meant for treating the water, were dispersed into the air, thanks to automatic safety measures, Nelson said.

Water shot out of the pipe at high pressure, about the same amount of pressure used with a standard fire hose. The stream of water pierced the roof of the building before shooting into the air.

Nelson said they had lost nearly 1 million gallons of water to the nearby canal before they shut off the water.

Not only was the pipe and hydrochloride tank damaged, but so were several electronic components, such as monitors and breakers. The damage is estimated to be about $500,000.

"This station has been in operation for 10 years. I've never seen anything like this," Nelson said. Although the exact cause is unknown, the age of the pipe and coupling could be the issue, he said.

Water was rerouted through other pumping stations to make up for the gap and prevent shortages caused by the Riverdale station's loss.

Nelson said Weber Basin's system will be fine for the time being and that repairs will take about eight weeks.

Weber Basin Water is a wholesale water dealer that services Davis, Weber, Summit, Morgan and Box Elder counties.

The station is one of 18 underground well pumps that Weber Basin Water keeps. The Riverdale station pumps 4 million gallons alone every day.

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