Computer Glitch Causes Overflowing Water Tower

Event Year: 2007 Reliability: Confirmed
Country: United States
Industry Type: Water/Waste Water

A passerby noticed water pouring over the top of the water tower near Chippewa Falls Middle School in the early morning hours and called police.  Rory Olson, city water utilities manager summoned to the tower about 4:15 a.m., also found water flowing from a side vent.  City Engineer Rick Rubenzer said the problem resulted from the failure of a control on a computer system. 

“Pumps filling the water tower continued to run and were not told by the computer to stop,” Rubenzer said. “The tank filled and bubbled over.”

The city water tower had the exact opposite problem last Thanksgiving. In that incident, the computer system mistakenly indicated the tower was full and stopped pumping water.


The water level dropped low enough to cut service to part of the city.