Water tank repair project to go to bid

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 9, 2004

Water will continue to pour into the hillside while city officials seek to find a permanent fix for the water storage tank.

City Engineer Phil Biggs will seek additional bids to repair the city's underground tank that continues to leak 400,000 gallons of water each day.

Clear Well No. 1, the 4-million gallon concrete water tank that was built in 1917 atop Nixon Hill off of State Route 93, leaks nearly 400,000 gallons of water every day, costing the city more than $5,000 a month, according to estimates by Mark White, part-time superintendent of the city's water treatment plant.

Email newsletter signup

"This is a tremendous amount of water," Biggs said. "I can't emphasize how much until you see it with your own eyes or your feet as you slosh through the mud."

Though it has been an off-and-on problem for a number of years and past repairs were only partly successful, council had hoped to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

The city has already received a bid of $15,316 from Pro Diving Service Inc., out of Akron, Ala., to use a resin sealant to repair the cracks in the tank. But rather than accepting this contract, council unanimously voted to remove an ordinance that would authorize the mayor to award a contract to Pro Diving so that Biggs could seek additional bids.

Council decided to solicit bids because it would only slow the process down by less than two weeks and would be worth it to get the best job possible.

White has indicated that he believes that a diver can fix the crack so the tank could stay in service during the repair and allow at least part of the tank to be used for 5 to 10 more years.

Biggs said he has talked with two other interested companies, Marine Diving Service of Wurtland, Ky., and Commercial Diving of Chesapeake, W. Va.

The bids will be opened Jan. 20 and Biggs said he will be prepared to make a recommendation at the next council meeting.

Key factors will be price, location of the company, experience and the type of product that would be used. All products must be approved for drinking water by the Environmental Protection Agency

The city plans to build one or two new 1-million gallon tanks sometime this year.

Partly because of the geological structure of the surrounding rock formations, Biggs has said installing two steel tanks would be more structurally sound, significantly cheaper, provide two sources instead of one and require less maintenance.

Purchasing two steel tanks may be 20 percent cheaper and they can last more than 100 years if maintained properly, he said.

In other business, an ordinance that would require filling a council vacancy to be discussed in public was never brought to a vote. Even if it had been brought up, council would have had to vote to waive the rule requiring an ordinance be given to council 24 hours before the meeting.

The ordinance is expected to be placed on the agenda for the Jan. 22 meeting.