Fed money to help fund new water storage tank

Posted July 10, 2009, at 9:58 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The city’s water district is preparing to replace a 51-year-old, 4 million-gallon, steel water storage tank on Essex Street with the help of nearly $1.8 million in federal stimulus funding.

The existing tank, which requires continual maintenance at a significant cost, will be replaced by a 3.4 million-gallon concrete tank that needs little upkeep, according to Wes Haskell with the Bangor Water District.

“Usually what we do with our existing tanks is sandblast and paint them periodically. That has become expensive over the years,” said Haskell, a district engineer. “Recently, we found some structural issues with this particular tank and decided to replace it.”

The water district’s plans include the removal of an adjacent 2 million-gallon steel tank that was built in 1933. Haskell said going from 6 million gallons to 3.4 million gallons of stored water at that site is possible because of improved cooperation with neighboring water utilities as well as new water quality standards.

The great thing about the new tank, Haskell said, is that it won’t ever need repainting. Additionally, the existing tanks have electric mixing systems that circulate water to boost disinfection at the cost of about $1,500 a month during summer season. The new tank comes equipped with a passive mixing system that does not use electricity.

Construction is expected to begin on Monday, July 20, and will continue through the fall before wrapping up in the spring of 2010.

“We want to get as much done now because there is a limiting factor of being able to work with concrete and cold temperatures,” Haskell said.

Customers in that area of Essex Street will not see any changes in their water pressure but could experience additional traffic and noise during the project, he said.

The cost of the new standpipe, including engineering and design, is about $1.8 million. Thirty percent of that total, or about $550,000, is a grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The remainder is a no-interest loan.

The contractor for the tank replacement project is Preload Inc. of New York. Haskell said no Maine companies do this kind of work, but the water district is sensitive to the City Council’s desire to hire local firms when possible.

“The firm has hired a local agency to do site work, and they are going to purchase lumber and other materials locally,” Haskell said.

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