What’s going on at the east water tower?
We’re sure that by now, that you’ve noticed some activity at the water tower out by the First United Bank Center.
The City has, for many years, been planning a project to re-paint this tank. The tank was constructed in 1966, and last painted in the mid-1980’s. The coating system (paint) has reached the end of its useful life. The paint not only makes for a more presentable tank, and protects the exterior from the elements, but most importantly, helps keep your water clean and protects it from being contaminated while being stored in the tank. Yes, the tank gets a new coat of paint on the inside, too.
So, what’s all of the other work that has gone on? What’s up with the controlled burn? All of the welding, etc.? Taking the tank out of service for painting gave us a good opportunity to modernize the tank and make some much-needed changes. Several safety modifications have been made to bring the tank into compliance with several OSHA and TCEQ rules. The access hatches were enlarged. Some new, OSHA compliant hand railing was installed. The ladders, inside and out, were replaced. The vent at the top of the tank was undersized as well, so it was brought up to the new standards. The overflow pipe was also enlarged to properly handle the flows when we have accidental overflows. If you’ve seen the tank overflow in the past, you can see how undersized the old pipe was as the tank would overflow out of the top vent and access hatch. Overflow events are rare, and always by accident, but as with any automated system, sometimes you have malfunctions, causing these kinds of things. A new tank level gauge was also installed. Framework for the containment structure is also being installed.
All of the metal work required quite a bit of cutting and welding, prime for starting fires in the super-dry conditions that we’re experiencing. This led to the controlled burn that the Canyon Fire Department conducted. Once the bulk of the fuel for the fire was removed by the controlled burn, it made for a safer environment to continue the cutting and welding and reduced the potential of having a larger fire, during the construction.
The next steps will involve placing a containment structure, a shroud or tent, if you will, around the tank. This is required to contain the debris and old paint as it is sandblasted from the tank. Containment is required when you’re removing paint containing lead. Lead-based coating systems were popular and the industry standard, thirty-some years ago when the tank was last painted. Today, contractors are required to take precautions to ensure that the environment is protected from potential lead contamination. That’s the main function of the containment shroud. Air quality is also strictly monitored during sandblasting to make sure that the containment is doing its job. These are state and federal mandates required to minimize the effects on the environment during the lead paint removal. The debris generated from the blasting is carefully handled and properly disposed of, in compliance with the same state and federal rules.
Once that the old coating is removed and the tank surfaces are prepared, the new coating systems will be applied. The tank interior will be coated with an epoxy-based system and the exterior paint is polymer/urethane based. New City of Canyon and WTAMU logos will be installed on the tank at completion.
Completion of this project will check a box on our list of projects that have been in the works for many, many years. Hopefully, the newly painted tank will continue to serve the city for several decades to come. The project should be completed by late spring. Right now, the other two elevated tanks are serving the system well. As demand increases and we reach warmer weather, the city would respectfully request that citizens be more mindful of their water usage and conserve water as much as possible, especially with their landscape irrigation. This project removes about half of our elevated storage capacity from the system, with this tank out of service. The better we are at conserving, the less stress we put on our water system. Your cooperation and assistance with this are greatly appreciated. Call us here at the public works department at 655-5011, ext. 4 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have any concerns or questions.