Abby water tower needs refurbishing
Abbotsford’s water tower is due for some major cleaning and a few repairs in the next couple of years, according to a company that recently inspected the 23-year-old structure.
The 400,000-gallon treated water tower needs between $425,000 and $450,000 worth of blasting, re-coating and “some miscellaneous structural modifications and repairs,” according to an inspection report from KLM Engineering shared at a July 6 city council meeting.
That estimate does not include the cost for engineering or inspection services.
The biggest expense would be for blasting and repainting both the interior and exterior of the tower, which stands 146 feet tall and has a tank diameter of just over 51 feet. The interior coating is listed in fair to good condition, while the exterior coating is considered “poor,” according to the inspection report.
Many of the repairs listed in the report are needed to make the tower compliant with OSHA standards, allowing for safer access to the elevated tank.
“It was installed in 1997, and nothing’s been done to it since,” said utility operator Josh Soyk.
If the work is done in the next one or two years, KLM says the tank should continue to be usable for the next 30 years if properly maintained.
Soyk is recommending bidding the project out in 2021 for completion in 2022. He said that will give the city time to see if any state grants are available to help cover the cost, or if the entire expense needs to come out of the water utility’s savings account.
The work can be completed within 11 weeks, during which time the tank will need to be drained, KLM says.
KLM also inspected the city’s raw water standpipe, built in 1903, which holds up to 188,000 gallons of untreated groundwater in its 20-foot diameter tank. The rocket-shaped structure stands 86 feet tall and was last coated in 1992, according to KLM’s report.
Costs for repairing and recoating the 117-year-old structure are estimated to be anywhere from $140,000 to $375,000, but city officials are not looking to spend that much money on a structure that is over a century old.
If the standpipe were to fail at some point, Soyk said the city is prepared to completely bypass the structure using its SCADA system, which allows all of the city’s wells, water plants and towers to “communicate” with each other so that water flows can be adjusted.
The tower was constructed out of riveted steel, before the advent of modern welding practices, so city officials have been reluctant to do any work on it.
The city has known that the water tanks are in need of refurbishment for several years now. Soyk said the recommendations for both the water tower and the standpipe are the same as those made after inspections in 2010 and 2015.
_ Soyk distributed sampling bottles to several council members who volunteered to have their tap water tested for copper and lead so that the city can meet a DNR testing requirement. A total of 10 samples from homes built before 1983 will be tested, with the results being submitted to the DNR for evaluation.
_ The council approved $4,250 for 1,000 feet of boring in order to replace a crushed conduit between wells 6 and 8 near the Abbotsford K-12 campus. Soyk said the city will be able to save about $5,000 in directional boring costs because of the open trenching being done on a nearby Hemlock Street project.
_ The council approved $2,500 to do hydrofracking at well 20, in order to clear out iron build-up and maintain the well’s 50 gallons per minute production.
_ The council approved a new two-year contract with HydroCorps, which will inspect 72 non-residential water connections within the city in order to ensure there is no cross-connection contamination into the city’s water system. The total cost will be $11,616, which represents an increase of $14 per month over the company’s previous two-year contract.
_ The council took no action on possibly resealing the plaster exterior of wellhouse number 1 south of West Linden Street, which encloses the city’s very first hand-dug well. Soyk said the cost of re-spraying the exterior is estimated to be about $58,000, and without knowing the condition of the brick underneath, he’s not sure whether it is worth the cost.
_ DPW Craig Stuttgen said recent water leaks in a utility closet at city hall were the result of pinholing in the joints of the water pipes. The leaks have already been fixed, and the public works crew plans on replacing the joints when time is available, he said.
The water leaks ruined the library’s internet router and caused internet service to go out at city hall just prior to the council’s last meeting on June 17. Council members went and looked at the leaks at the start of that meeting.