Water plant tractor sends 340-foot radio tower to ground



A 340-foot tall radio tower at the city water plant crashed to the ground at 9:36 a.m. Monday after a worker’s tractor clipped one of its support cables.


Guy wire down

Two trucks parked at the Banyan Boulevard plant were crushed but no one was injured and city emergency communications were not interrupted, city officials said.

The tractor was moving sludge from one part of the water treatment plant to another when it hit the guy wires, sending the antenna to the ground in a twisted heap of metal latticework.

Pickup kaput

Pickup kaput


The 30-year-old tower, which was about to be decommissioned, was used to remotely monitor and control sewer lift stations and other water system pumpsĀ around the city.

A new, free-standing replacement tower next to it was undamaged and it took two hours to reprogram computers to reroute the monitoring capabilities through it, Deputy City Administrator Dorritt Miller said. Meanwhile, city workers traveled to inspect lift stations, she said.


Seemed like a good parking spot at the time

Neither sewer operations nor police and fire communication — the main reason the new tower was completed in July — were affected, Miller said.

The new tower, also 340-feet-tall, one of three around the city, stands barely 10 feet from the base of the one that came crashing down.


Checking base of the fallen radio tower

Silvio Espinoza, a telecommunications technician for the city, said he had just finished testing the old tower’s monitoring system when he got a call from a dispatcher saying the system wasn’t working.

He didn’t believe it. “I’m saying, ‘check your battery.'” Then all the alarms went off, he said.

Miller said the crumpled tower would be dismantled and carted away.


Telecom Tech Silvio Espinoza

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