Work Begins on NY Water Tower


Work on a 55-year-old water tower in Riverhead, New York, is reportedly underway as crews begin to rehabilitate the structure. The project will reportedly involve removing the tower’s exterior coating, making necessary repairs and applying a new weather-resistant coating to the structure.

According to reports, the water tower along Route 58 is currently wearing a full-length shroud, meant to act as a protective shield while contractors for the Riverhead Water District begin their work.

About the Project

The 147-foot-tall Route 58 Elevated Storage Tank, the tower’s official name, was reportedly built in 1968 and is important in making sure water district customers have a steady supply of clean water, especially during the “peak-demand” summer months. The tank is 66.5 feet in diameter and can hold up to 750,000 gallons of water.

According to the report, the shroud was needed in order to create a “climate-controlled environment,” protecting the tower from sun and rain while the work is underway. Additionally, the shroud had to protect the surrounding environment during the blasting process since the tower’s original coating reportedly contains lead.

The report states that there is no lead on the inside of the tank or in the drinking water. Once the old coating is removed, workers will reportedly be able to see where rust has corroded the metal and replace segments as is needed.

“The old coating was failing, and metal was exposed,” said Riverhead Water District Superintendent Frank Mancini. “That was the rusty color.”

At the moment the district is reportedly working on the tower’s legs, cables and supports. Additionally, after any required structural work is complete, they will receive a fresh coating to protect the structure from the elements.

Work on the tank itself will reportedly begin in the fall, after the peak demand season when customer demand goes from 3 million gallons per day to nearly 20 million. The tank will have to be empty during the process, which means it will have to be taken out of service, something the district can’t do until the off-season.

For the support, the tank will reportedly need to be blasted, inspected and repaired before it receives a new coat to protect is from the elements.

The district must also reportedly conduct water analyses of water held in the tank. “There’s an enormous amount of sampling that happens afterwards, to make sure that you’re not only free of bacteria, but also any chemicals in the paints,” Mancini said, including that sampling alone takes weeks.

Work on the tank will reportedly take months to complete. Additionally, the full project cost, according to Mancini, is $2,666,575.

The rehabilitation of the Route 58 water tower is reportedly not the only project that the water district has planned. According to Riverhead Local, the district is also working on building a 2.5-million-gallon storage tank in the Wading River, which will reportedly help the district keep up with the “summer surge” in demand in that area of the district.

The projects are reportedly part of the Riverhead Water District’s adopted capital improvement plan.

Recent Water Tank Repairs

Also this month, work on a historic, 100-year-old water tower in Ridgeway, South Carolina, is reportedly nearing completion a year after receiving funding from the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to paint and refurbish the tower.

According to a report from The Voice of Blythewood & Fairfield County, the news comes a year after Mayor Heath Cookendorfer announced that District 41 House Representative Annie McDaniel had obtained $100,000 from the DHEC to paint, refurbish and restore the original color and lettering to the tower.

Painting and refurbishing work was reportedly scheduled to begin in early 2023, though a winter storm last Christmas Eve, with sub-freezing temperatures and high winds, damaged the tower and delayed the project.

The town had reportedly contracted with water tank maintenance company Southern Corrosion to paint the tower and make minor repairs at a cost of $75,000.

According to the report, the storm burst the pipe that took water to and from the tower, damaged a vent on top of the tank and blew off half the catwalk leading from the main catwalk to the top of the tank.

Water was reportedly being kept in the tank to keep it stabilized, despite the tank no longer servicing the town’s water customers. When the winter freeze finally thawed, all the water from the tank reportedly drained out and burst the pipe, leaving the top-heavy tank at risk.

The council reportedly agreed that taking the tank down would be a “highly controversial” action. Eventually, after discussions with Daniel Wilson of Southern Corrosion, it was reportedly decided that filling it with water or sand would further corrode the tank walls.

Councilman Don Prioleau reportedly asked whether the base could become the stabilizer by lancing rebar through the four legs at the bottom and adding a base of concrete.

According to the report, the idea appears to have some weight to it, though Cookendorfer stated that the council will re-look at the option once the painting and refurbishing work is complete.

Additionally, in May, Northville Township in Michigan announced that it had awarded a contract to rehabilitate its existing water tower, shortly after the Township had announced plans to construct a second storage tank. 

According to reports, the existing 450,000-gallon tower near Hillside Middle School, which had not been painted since 2006, was scheduled to receive a new coat of paint this upcoming fall.

The tower will also showcase the city’s new logo, which was approved in 2020 and is to be painted on the bulb of the tower. The paint job will be done in two colors: beige for the arm, and white for the top of the tank under the city’s logo.

The tower will also receive rehabilitative work such as platform hatch replacement and overflow flap replacement. Plans to remove some of the cellular service antennas on top have also been discussed.

A contract valued at $362,040 was awarded to Seven Brothers Painting of Shelby Township, Michigan, to perform the work. Seven Brothers’ bid was reportedly the lowest of the seven that were received by the township.

The job is scheduled to take place in September and October, when water is reportedly used less frequently, and will take the tank out of service for 6 to 8 weeks.


Tagged categories: Blasting; Coating Application; Coating Materials; Coatings; Coatings Technology; Corrosion; Lead; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; potable water; Program/Project Management; Protective Coatings; Rehabilitation/Repair; Surface preparation; Tank exteriors; Tank interiors; Tanks; Tanks; Water Tanks

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