The residents of Tampa, FL got a rather unpleasant surprise on Friday when the local water treatment plant suffered a power outage that briefly shut off the flow of water to the entire city of nearly 500,000 for an hour. Even when the power was restored, a 48 hour boil order was put into effect for everyone in the service area. So why am I posting about this here?
Guess who the culprit is believed to be….
Here is the story from Tampa Bay Online (which will also be the source of all italicized quotes in this post) that someone on my message board made sure to bring to my attention. Apparently an unknown rodent, believed to be a squirrel, chewed through a wire on a utility pole 25 feet in the air. Definitely sounds like a squirrel to me… I know of two squirrels who sacrificed their lives in my backyard to ensure I spent a few hours without power before. Of course, everyone is quick to blame the squirrel for this catastrophe, but let’s be sure to give equal time to the failings of the humans involved in this….
TECO crews were at work on the line when a switch at the water plant that should have helped absorb the sudden change in power failed, knocking the plant offline at about 1:30 p.m., Jacobs said.
Oops! You’d think something that’s making sure half a million people continue to get clean drinking water would be tested more frequently to make sure it’s working. The squirrel can’t help it, chewing on things is just his nature. Once again, man has failed to outsmart the wily rodent!
Of course, people don’t like to boil water. Hell, a lot of people these days don’t even like to drink the water when everything’s working fine and dandy. Stores around the Tampa area were cleaned out of bottled water before you could save Evian (That’s “naive” spelled backwards). Score another victory for the bottled water industry, who have people completely doped into thinking that any liquid that doesn’t come out of one of their sterile plastic containers will cause you to suffer a violent, traumatic, and slow death. I’ve poked a stick at the bottled water obsession in the past.
I must be really weird, because I can’t stand the taste of bottled water, let alone tolerate spending the money on it. According to my last water bill, I pay approximately $3.83 for 750 gallons of water from the faucet. You would need to take out a loan to buy 750 gallons of bottled water. Really, does anyone even bother to do the math here? I don’t care if the water is chunky and smells like Rosanne Barr took a bath in it… that’s a damn bargain! My town has notoriously nasty water, but I still drink it every day, and it hasn’t had any ill effects on me!
Many restaurants in the area closed down, since without clean, running water, you can’t make fountain soda (aka liquid crack). Hospitals were scrambling to find Perrier to clean out their dirty bedpans. Perhaps most alarming, Tampa may have to do without overpriced coffee!!!
As a precaution, the Starbucks store on Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa disconnected its large water reserve tanks from the city system. That tank has several hundred gallons and should last for some time with their drip-coffee system. Other drinks use high-temperature steam that would sterilize the process.
Though there’s no decision yet, Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing may have to interrupt its daily production, said spokesman Geiger Powell.
The brewing process starts by boiling water and grains, he said, and the entire process is sterile through bottling. But the question is what to do between production runs.
“The issue is when we need to clean the tanks,” he said. “If we can’t use the water, what then? In the meantime, we can’t clean out glasses or growlers, and for the whole weekend we’ll be using plastic cups in our tasting rooms.”
All is not lost for folks in the Bay area, however. The Gasparilla Distance Classic’s two footraces will go on as scheduled with plenty of bottled water for the runners. And most importantly, the boil order will not shut down the re-enactment of one of the most iconic moments of 1980’s theater….
The defining water-bucket moment in “Flashdance The Musical” will still splash the stage at the Straz Center through Sunday thanks to a 25 gallon reservoir that can be refilled with bottled water. In an iconic dance number, leading lady Emily Padgett leans back on a chair, pulls a chain and is drenched by a bucket of water.
“Water for ‘Flashdance’ is safe,” said Paul Bilyeu, director of public relations at The Straz Center.
Never has $50 worth of bottled water ever been put to better use…..
We can’t end this post without discussing the closing line of the article….
As for what kind of rodent caused the outage, TECO officials could not say.