Bids Approved for SD Water Tower Repainting

MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2022

Contracts were recently approved for a repainting and pipe improvement project for an aging water tower in Mitchell, South Dakota. The west water tower, located along a Highway 37 bypass, is reportedly a $1.1 million project and is expected add about 10 to 15 years to its life expectancy.

The Mitchell City Council approved the awarded bids on March 7.

“With the full coat of paint, it would be roughly 30 years until we have to repaint it,” said Public Works Director Joe Schroeder during a council meeting earlier this month. “We gave them the opportunity to paint it next year as well.”

For the project, the exterior of the tower, currently painted blue, will be coated with a cream color with the city’s logo on top. The design will be similar to the city’s south side water tower near Interstate 90.

Currently, officials are unsure if the interior of the water towered will be painted, as an investigation will need to be completed to determine if the underground piping that connects to the water tower is in need of replacing.

The project is divided into two phases. The first phase will entail painting the entire exterior of the water tower and making improvements to some of the piping on the interior of the tower, while the second phase includes replacing the valve and piping on the exterior of the water tower.

The council approved a $354,200 bid for the first phase of the project, awarded to Maguire Iron of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. For phase two, H&W Contracting, also of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, won the bid for slightly under $675,000.

“It’s very difficult to isolate this tower, and we have to go multiple blocks in order to isolate it. This project will fix that problem,” Schroeder said during an October council meeting. If the city did not need to make improvements to the exposed piping of the tower, it would reportedly reduce the overall project cost by about $205,000.

“There may be a possibility for a large cost savings if we are able to eliminate schedule B1, and that’s dependent on what the condition of the underground pipe is in that connects the water tower. It could be great, or it could be falling apart,” Schroeder said

He noted further that the investigation into the underground pipe will determine whether improvements need to be made to the pipe. However, if it does not need replaced, the city will explore the option of painting the entire tower interior.

According to reports from the Mitchell Republic, one Mitchell resident voiced concerns regarding the health effects of the interior paint on the water stored in the tower.

“I have no clue what happens inside of the water tower,” said resident Dwight Stadler at the council meeting. “But when you’re saying painting, I’m picturing paint flowing into the water.”

The council reports that the interior paint provided for the project is reportedly a Tnemec Company Inc. brand. Tnemec paints are commonly used for steel and concrete surface projects to protect them from corrosion, with Schroeder adding that the water tower would be dry before crews apply the paint.

Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson also added that the interior paint prevents the steel from rusting, which would affect the water in the tower.

Additionally, regarding the supply chain crisis, Schroeder confirmed to the city council that the selected contractors have the paint need to complete the project.

Recent Water Tank Projects

While the Mitchell water tower project is expected to be unaffected the supply chain shortage, other projects have faced increased costs and supply chain issues during the bidding process.

Last month, city officials in Wheeling, West Virginia, solicited bids for the repainting of two water tanks and were surprised by the increase in costs for the work.

The Wheeling City Council met at the beginning of the month to read an ordinance authorizing the contract amount of $495,840 with Worldwide Industries Corp. of Butler, Pennsylvania, to repaint two city water tanks.

The bid was reportedly the lowest of the three received. Two other contactors, John B. Conomos Inc. of Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, and Almega Company Inc. of Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania, submitted bids for the projects for $881,855 and $1,014,635, respectively.

“Prices have gone through the roof,” said Wheeling Public Works Director Rusty Jebbia. “The bids surprised us, too. Costs have gone up.”

One of the water tanks, on a hillside off Springdale Avenue, holds 800,000 gallons. The other tank, located in Washington farms, can reportedly hold 50,000 gallons. According to officials, both the Springdale and Washington Farm tanks are expected to have the inside and outside be sandblasted and repainted.

Jebbia noted that the city has a regular rotation for tank painting, with the extent of the work depending on the condition of the individual tanks.

“We try to paint tanks once every 20 years, and we try to do a project every year or so when we can,” Jebbia said.

“The frequency depends on the tank itself, and also depending on the tank, sometimes it’s inside and outside,” City Manager Robert Herron added. “The city maintains a tank painting fund in which each year, funds are set aside for our tanks.”

The city maintains 19 water tanks in total, with most in the city limits but some reaching as far away as Pennsylvania. The project will be charged to the city’s Water Department Tank Rehabilitation Fund, according to the ordinance.


Tagged categories: Bidding; Contractors; Contracts; Government contracts; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Quality Control; Rehabilitation/Repair; Tank exteriors; Tank interiors; Tanks; Tnemec; Upcoming projects; Water/Wastewater

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