Saluda water tank survey proposes immediate upgrades

Published 9:27 pm Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A report has been generated in regards to the May inspection of Saluda’s 200,000-gallon water tank, and was delivered by administrator Jonathan Cannon during the August 10 commissioners meeting.

Pittsburgh Tank & Tower Maintenance surveyed the interior of the tank with the use of an underwater camera system. The company also inspected the exterior as well as the perimeter of the tank and with the information gathered, generated 20 maintenance recommendations.

The recommendations were divided into three categories: in house, interior and exterior.

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According to Cannon, three of the 20 recommendations fell in the “in house” category; meaning Public Works Department employees could complete the project.

These include hanging signs, foundation work and grounding the tank to prevent lightning damage.

Twelve recommendations, which require the tank to be drained, were categorized as interior.

For an approximate cost of $101,135 dollars, the recommended interior upgrades include a second entrance man way, drain valve, liquid level indicator, vent, seam repairs, sediment removal, installation of a mixing system and recoating of the tank’s interior to prevent rust.

The liquid level indicator in the tank is currently out of commission, and has been for some time, according to Cannon.

“The vent is simply a tower with a screen around it,” said Cannon. “It was included as a critical item, because when the tank can’t breathe, it either sucks in like a tin can or explodes.”

Pittsburgh Tower & Tank estimates two to three inches of sediment has settled on the bottom of the tank. Problems may occur when the sediment reaches six inches to match the height of the inlet and blocks it, according to Cannon.

The costliest of the interior recommendations is the mixing system, which prevents water stagnation.

The five exterior recommendations include an upgraded ladder that provides fall protection, structural work on a lip that is ponding water, sandblasting the exterior of the tank and repainting.

The price tag of the exterior upgrades comes to $56,900, bringing the total cost of the recommendations to $158,035, according to Cannon.

“I think the city could very easily phase this over a number of years,” said Cannon.

Cannon’s proposed phase one would include the bulk of the interior category.

“I left a few items off to make the cost more manageable for what we have in the budget,” said Cannon.

The mixing system, interior ladder, and sediment removal, did not make the cut. The cost for phase 1, as proposed, would be $67,000 according to Cannon.

Phase two focuses the exterior categories, and phase three includes the remainder of the interior items.

According to Cannon, a completely new tank would cost between $500,000 and $750,000.

“Our tank is in need of repairs and at some point we need to take action,” said Cannon.

“This is just the first step,” he added.

“I’m surprised it’s not worse than it is since it hasn’t had anything done to it since 1987,” said Mayor Fred Baisden, “We’re very fortunate.”

The Saluda commissioners plan to gather more information for the September meeting and take action before the end of the year.