Tama firefighters broke two water mains while filling a fire department tanker truck on Saturday, Oct. 6. They were fighting a major blaze in a farm building south of town.
Tama Mayor Dan Zimmerman told city council members at their Monday night meeting a "quarter-turn valve" employed to speedily fill a tanker was apparently turned off or on too quickly. This caused what he said was termed a "shock wave" in the water system with an eight-inch main near Caraustar (paper mill) and a second water main on Hall Street to break.
John Lloyd, Tama Public Works director, said a boil order was issued as a precaution. He said a total of 19 radio, television stations and newspapers were advised of the order.
Lloyd said positive pressure was gauged in the system at all times so infiltration couldn't occur to taint the water supply.
The boil order was lifted officially on Monday morning after lab tests were returned.
Zimmerman said some residents had asked why the city does not subscribe to the county CodeRed alert system.
Council member Steve Baier and Zimmerman said they continue to believe CodeRed, which calls telephone numbers with alerts, would only serve a portion of residents while the city pays a per-capita cost on the entire population.
Zimmerman said "We would have had the fire department, ambulance service and police department going door-to-door if necessary" had there been an actual danger of contaminated water.
The Tama Fire Department plans additional training in use of equipment to fill tankers Zimmerman said.