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Accident at Tracy City water plant still under investigation; water quality not affected

Posted on Saturday, May 23, 2020 at 10:29 am

Tracy City, Tenn. – While early in the investigation, there was an accident at the Tracy City Public Utility’s (TCPU) water plant Friday, May 22. The details of the accident are incomplete at this time, but there has been a confirmation of a fatality of one of the plant’s vendor’s employees as well as an employee of TCPU needing to be hospitalized. Most of the involved entities are restricted in what they can say pending a Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA) investigation. Whenever there is a workplace fatality TOSHA automatically investigates.

The Tennessee Association of Utility Districts social media platform revealed that the ADC driver’s name was Tommy Ables on a post on Friday.

Tracy City Mayor Nadene Moore offered a written statement which said, “Earlier [Friday, May 22] at our local water plant an accident occurred during the delivery of normal chemicals used for processing water.  Unfortunately, the accident resulted in injuries to an employee at the plant and also resulted in the loss of life for the individual delivering the products.  The Town expresses great sympathy for those affected by this tragedy.

The plant was immediately shut down remotely.  The proper authorities were then notified and promptly responded.  They quickly determined the drinking water continues to be safe for consumption and regular usage.  The plant will continue to operate and produce safe, clean water.

Grundy County Herald did confirmed with the water plant manager, Kevin Byers, that the TCPU employee appears to be well on their way to recovery. “He is doing fine, I spoke to him [Friday night], and it looks like he’ll be just fine,” Byers said.

Speaking with Chuck Page with American Development Company (ADC), the company delivering chemicals, the company also declined to get too far into details of the accident as to maintain the integrity of the TOSHA investigation. Follow the initial TOSHA site visit, ADC released the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and co-worker, Tommy Ables. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Margie, his family, and friends during this difficult time.  Tommy has been a dedicated employee at American Development Corporation since 2011.  

We are investigating this tragic incident with the state and local authorities.  At this early stage of the investigation, we have no further details.  Our focus is to support Margie, as well as preparing our employees as they face the reality of returning to work without their friend and co-worker.” 

We’ll continue to follow this story.