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On a full tank

IRONTON — It sits perched high on Nixon Hill, overlooking the city it serves. The view from it allows an unaided eye to see 20 miles in each direction. It rests next to its predecessor, albeit behind fencing that keeps the curious at a safe distance.

Since it went online July 28, the new Ironton water tank has been an overwhelming success both logistically and financially for the city of Ironton. So much so, that the city’s daily water output is seeing one of its largest adjustments in recent history.

“From the day it went into service, things have been going very well,” said Ironton Water Superintendent Mark White. “The daily outflow has cut back nearly 250,000 gallons a day.”

According to White, before the new, two million gallon, water tank was put into service, the amount of water lost from the city’s previous water storage facility — an underground, football-field sized, century-old holding chamber plagued by age and leaks — ranged between 350,000-750,000 gallons per day depending on the time of year.

That figure, added to the wide range of leaks currently throughout the city of Ironton, resulted in nearly 60 percent of all water turned through the city’s water network on a daily basis being unaccounted for, and thus unable to be billed.

Today that number is down to 42 percent and White hopes to have that figure around 20 percent in the near future.

White said the new the $1.58 million tank along with the installation of new water meters and locating and repairing leaks throughout the city will help in keeping city water production down.

“We are heading in a positive direction to account for some of the water loss in the city,” White said when explaining that current improvements have resulted in production decreasing by 20 man hours a week.

Now in operation, the tan-colored tank is an intimidating structure to stand next to. At 35-feet in total height, the tank and its dome-shaped roof holds enough water to meet the needs of the entire city on a daily basis.

And unlike the previous storage facility, the new water tank has the ability to have its chemical readings monitored right on site as well as at the Ironton Water Department’s main facility on South Front Street.

State of the art telemetry allows White and his staff to analyze the amount of fluoride and the pH levels in water currently being stored.

“Having this available will help us better monitor the quality of the water,” White said.

Mayor Rich Blankenship is also thrilled by the recent results the new tank has had.

“So far, so good,” Blankenship said. “With any new construction there are some bugs you have to work out, but with the tank and the sewer realignment project both are two major steps in the right direction for the city’s infrastructure.”