By Bob Balgemann


Every once in a while Public Works Director Brent Anderson will talk to aldermen about money his department puts aside each year, in order to be able to afford those costly utility projects that pop up on occasion.

One of them recently was dealt with, that being rehabilitation of the southwest elevated water tank. That is one of three such storage tanks that, together, house 1.1 million gallons of water.

In June, Director Anderson explained that project would include full abrasive blast and recoating of the tank’s interior, recoating the interior wet portion of the tank, and replacement of the expansive joint in the riser pipe, with necessary structural improvements.

He said the water department’s capital fund budget had $440,000 to complete the work.

In outlining the project schedule, he said the first step was approval of a proposal from Strand Associates in Madison, Wis., to provide design, bidding, and construction services, along with warranty inspection. That initial cost outlay was not to exceed $39,000.

The project schedule begins with expansion joint improvements being done this summer, he said. Specifications for painting and sandblasting will be next, with the bid process taking place this fall. The painting portion of the project is on tap for the summer of 2021, subject to weather conditions, but probably happening between the middle of May to the first of June.

Michael Forslund, professional engineer with Strand, stated in a memorandum that the bidding environment for tank rehabilitation projects typically is best during the winter and early spring. That’s when contractors look to fill their schedules for the coming year.

Project details

He outlined details of overall project, with bid documents being submitted to the city for final review in October 2020. Project paperwork will be finalized and ready for advertising on Jan. 8, 2021, followed by a three-week bidding period. Construction is anticipated to begin in May 2021.

While the schedule shows substantial completion in August 2021, the contract will be written to limit the time the tank will be out of service. Warranty inspections will occur in July or August 2022, about one year after substantial completion of the project.

All of that work was proposed, Forslund stated, after Strand completed an observation report for the southwest tank in 2019. It identified some issues that should be addressed to prolong the life of the tank and maintain reliable operation. The following improvements were recommended:

* Full abrasive blast and recoat of the tank exterior.

* Sediment cleaning, spot preparation, and recoating the interior wet.

* Spot preparation and touch-up coat the interior dry.

* Expansion joint replacement in the riser pipe, with necessary structural improvements.

* Miscellaneous repairs and light bulb replacement.

“We have extensive experience dealing with protective systems on steel tanks,” Forslund stated in his memo. “Our approach … includes a scope of services that provides the necessary effort to complete all phases of the (aforementioned) project successfully.”

There was no discussion of the project at the June 8 committee meeting.

But on June 15, at the city council meeting where final approval was given, Alderman Dan Snow noted there was a lot of mold and mildew on the bottom of the tank, on the outside, “and it kind of looks tacky. Is there a possibility of cleaning that?”

Anderson replied that work would not be done until the 2021 construction season. “The whole outside of the tank will be sandblasted, primed, and painted,” he said.




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