EVANSDALE --- The Evansdale water tower is frozen and inoperable for the time being, city officials said Tuesday morning.
Water is being treated and pumped directly from city wells, Mayor Doug Faas said. A boil order is in effect until at least Thursday when water tests are returned. Faas emphasized the water is being treated and water pressure has been maintained. The water is safe for bathing, Faas said.
An ice cap has formed inside the tower in the subzero weather conditions, making it impossible for water to circulate in or out of the tower, said Faas and Evansdale Water Works Superintendent Mike Ellison.
"We're pumping directly from our wells into our system; it gets treated at the well site. But that's not a sustainable option," Faas said.
He and Ellison said the city is exploring all options, including finding a company to send divers in thermal suits into the tower to break up the ice cap; or hooking up to the Waterloo Water Works system until spring. Ellison said he has already contacted Waterloo Water Works officials about that option.
In the meantime, Waterloo Community Schools is working to address the water boil order at its buildings in Evansdale. Officials said bottled water will be available during the school day at Poyner Elementary and Bunger Middle schools. Bathrooms are safe to use and will be stocked with hand sanitizer. School meals will be safely prepared offsite and brought in to serve.
Faas said the situation was discovered about 6 p.m. Monday and Ellison worked through the night on the situation. The mayor said initially there was a loss in pressure, but that was restored. Ellison said there also is sufficient pressure to fight fires if needed.
The city water tower was built in 1999. Faas and Ellison said the tower has never encountered such a difficulty before.
Faas noted that the Salvation Army of Waterloo-Cedar Falls brought 36 cases of drinking water to the city's Community Response Center for the public to use. Also, Kwik Star stores were delivering five pallets of drinking water to the Community Response Center and available for the public after 4 p.m. Tuesday.
"I'm pleasantly surprised both of them," Faas said of the donations. "Especially Salvation Army. They have their own people to take care of. For them to donate 36 cases, I'm pleasantly suprised. And Kwik Star has been a very good corporate neighbor for our community ever since they built here. I appreciate their contributions to our community as corporate neighbors."