Storage tank plans moving forward

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

It’s been a long time coming, but it seems that an improvement of the city’s water storage on Nixon Hill is finally gaining some traction.

Clearwell No. 1, the 5-million-gallon reservoir sitting atop Nixon Hill, has been in use by Ironton since 1918. As the tank started to show signs of disrepair a couple of years ago, efforts began to replace it.

However, the city soon found that the tank had some good years ahead of it, and officials decided just to give the big tank a little help.

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“It wasn’t in as severe condition as we thought,” said Phil Biggs, city engineer. “There was some concern that it was going to slide off of the hill or something, and that’s just not the case. There’s some value to it. It’s got such a large capacity that we’d hate to lose it.”

Technically, the city would have enough water if it just used the new 1-million gallon tank and another 1-million gallon reserve tank. But that’s cutting it a little close for city officials.

“It’s always been the city’s position that they wanted to be able to ensure enough water capacity in the event of a castrophic fire in the city, a major water break or a major contamination in the river that would surpass the 24-hour capacity,” Biggs said.

During the July 13 meeting of the Ironton City Council, it was decided that local firm E.L. Robinson will be designing the water tank as well as a line to take that water line to State Route 141. The firm will also help determine the best spot for the tank.

The firm will begin as soon as possible, with construction expect to start in March of 2007, and be completed three to four months later.

The city is still putting together funding for the project, which Biggs guesses will end up costing around $1.5 million. But they’ve already secured $600,000 in grants and loans, and Biggs is confident about finding the rest.

“I don’t think it will be a problem, we’re filing a new application for a Community Development Block Grant,” Biggs said. “We also have quite a bit of reserve funds established for the replacement of that tank.”

Biggs said that he expected more repairs of the 5-million gallon tank to follow once the new one is completed.