Friday, March 8, 2013
Two new water towers are expected to grace the skyline of the City of Georgetown in the near future.
One of the new tanks will replace the one at City Hall, which is too low and sits on top of unsafe ground.
As reported in January, there are voids underneath the ground below the City Hall tank.
Geotechnical testing shows the cavities are about 35-40 feet underneath the surface.
The tank, which now weighs 216,000 pounds because it is empty but weighs 2.5 million pounds when full — was erected in the 1950s. It was drained in late 2011 because of the sinkholes that formed in the area.
A proposed plan, which was presented to City Council on Thursday, calls for possibly placing a new, higher-capacity tower on the property of the city’s water treatment plant on Ridge Road.
Jonathan Heald, director of the city’s new department of public services, said a cost analysis is being conducted comparing the costs of making the needed ground repairs and placing a new, higher and larger tower next to City Hall or erecting a new tower elsewhere.
Although there is a tank next to the Maryville Bridge with a 500,000-gallon capacity, both Heald and City Administrator Chris Carter said having just that tank on the Georgetown side the bridge is not recommended to continue. One reason is because no repairs can take place to the tank near the Port since the City Hall tank is currently out of service.
Also, the city needs at least half-day worth of water in reserves at all times in case of an emergency.
Heald said the size of a tank to replace the City Hall tank would be decided based on expected growth in the future.
“The capacity will be driven by what the city’s needs will be. Not the current growth patterns, because things are flat right now. But I see Georgetown on an upswing,” Heald said.
Although a site for a new tank has not been chosen, the water plant site seems to be the way city leaders are leaning since the city already owns the property.
Even if the tower remains next to City Hall, it would need to be torn down and replaced with a higher structure, Carter said.
The decision will be made during the upcoming 2013-14 budget creation process.
Last month, the city approved spending up to $1.3 million for a new water tank in Maryville, which will be placed on the city-owned property that was the former site of Eagle Electric. It is needed to help increase water pressure in that part of the city.
By Scott Harper