Water tower

The brand new water tank sits behind the current tank, not yet being used. The new tank will be ready for use once the roof is sealed to the tank.

About a year ago, the Town of Hotchkiss put in a new water tank, Public Works Director Mike Owens said. However, before the tank is used, the last thing that needs to be done is for the aluminum lid to be sealed to the steel tank.

The new tank’s lid seal is a job for Ultra Flow Dispense, LLC, according to Owens. Ultra Flow Dispense is subcontracted by Doughty Steel, which won the bid to install the new water tank.

“When the dome was initially installed, the seal wasn’t put in, so they’ve got to come back and do that but they also got other jobs going, so we’re trying to get scheduled to get them back in here,” Owens said. Ultra Flow is supposed to come this month.

Once it’s usable, the new tank will be replacing the oldest of the town’s water tanks at the same site. The new and the current tanks sit side by side on the hill north of town, between the town and the water treatment plant. Owens mentioned that “nobody really knows” how old the current tank is, guessing it may have been built in the 1960s or 1970s.

At this point, the current tank is at a point where maintenance would grow in cost. Over the years, the tank underwent several paint jobs, using the specific paint approved by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) for protecting the steel from rust without contaminating the water in the tank or emitting any toxins. Last time the tank was painted, the steel was pitted with rust, Owens said. The town knew that it would be more of a replacement job before the tank would need painting again.

Once the lid is sealed, the tank will sit empty for a period of time so that the public works department can inspect the movement of the lid on top of the tank. Due to the aluminum lid on a steel tank, the material of each piece will move in different ways as temperatures change.

“[The lid is] designed to move on top of that steel tank and depending on what the seal is on the tank is kind of going to determine how much it’s able to,” Owens said.

The domed aluminum lid is not a feature of the old water tank. Instead, the old tank has a flat, steel roof supported from the inside by support columns. The problem with the columns, according to Owens, is that, over the years, much of the water turns to ice in the colder months. As the water level fluctuates, as it does in all water tanks, the ice wears away at the support columns in the tank.

The new tank’s aluminum dome roof deters snow from collecting on top and the material is much lighter than steel. For both of these reasons, the new tank doesn’t need support columns inside.

Regarding time restraints, Owens said that he wants the new tank to be ready soon but that it’s not an urgent matter.

“Time’s an issue, but we’d rather have it done right,” Owens said. “We’ve got another tank right there that’s in use, and when the new one’s online, Doughty, part of their contract is to tear down the old tank.”

The project is already past its original finish date, as Owens expected the tank to be ready for use by now. There is currently no known specific date of completion for the new tank’s lid.

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