Storage reservoir restoration project wraps up

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published October 16, 2018

 Farmington’s water tank underwent a restoration that removed lead-based paint on its roof coating, among other improvements.

Farmington’s water tank underwent a restoration that removed lead-based paint on its roof coating, among other improvements.

File photo provided by the city of Farmington

FARMINGTON  — When locals think of a water tank, the mammoth 3-million-gallon, 209-foot water tower on Halsted Road in Farmington Hills might come to mind.

But there is another water tank that Farmington officials have in mind, even if not everyone knows where it is located.

“I don’t think a lot of people know we have a water tank,” Farmington City Councilman Bill Galvin said during a Sept. 17 City Council meeting. “They think of the big one in Farmington Hills … you can see probably from … California. Kudos to them, but people don’t even know where our water tank is, a lot of them.”

Farmington Public Works Superintendent Chuck Eudy said during the meeting that “a lot of times, that is good,” which earned some laughs.

During that meeting, the City Council unanimously approved payment for the water tank restoration project that was completed earlier this year.

The city’s roughly 62-year-old green water tank, located near Grand River Avenue and Locust Street, in the Oakwood Cemetery, underwent a number of restorations that didn’t impact — or interrupt — water usage for residents. The 1-million-gallon water tank reopened in mid-March.

The project consisted of removing lead-based paint on the tank’s roof coating, making structural and safety enhancements, creating ease of access for workers, and more, Eudy said previously of the needed upgrades.

The water tank had been inspected by a tank restoration company, which made some recommendations on installing additional egress and ingress to the site.

A water reliability study  — done every five years — will be started by mid-year 2019, Eudy confirmed.

According to city documents, the city is required to submit an updated study to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality every five years. The study evaluates the system and identifies areas for capital and operational improvements.

The 2014 water reliability study recommended the maintenance on the water tank.

“Moving forward from there we’ve been revising the 2014 water reliability study, which we do have to update that study,” Eudy said, adding that an abridged version of the roughly 80-page study will be put on the city’s website next year.

Early this year, the company recommended upgrades to overflow piping and some fall prevention devices for maintenance personnel for future needs.

An overflow pipe was added to bring the water tank up to regulation, which includes a 12-inch minimum distance between the ground and where water empties out.

Eudy said during the meeting that based on a water reliability study, the city knew it needed to recoat the water tank.

“Also in the recoating of the tank, they also installed a new hatchway to get into the tank,” he said, adding that new ventilation equipment and other upgrades were made.

The project was bid out through the Oakland County Water Resources Commission, and the commission subsequently contracted with Dixon Engineering to conduct the inspections and the project.

The project, Eudy said, was completed about $7,000 under the budgeted amount of $177,700.

Galvin asked Eudy about the benefits of the project.

“Is it just a paint job? There is more to it than that, I understand, but can you please explain what is the benefit?”

Eudy said that quite often a paint job does a bit more than make something look nice on the outside.

“(It) will also extend the life of the water tank,” he said, adding that the water tank was originally constructed back in 1956.

“This is the first time the tank has been out of service since 1994, so it’s been over 20 years since it was out of service, which is also a test of our system —  how our system can operate without the tank being installed,” Eudy said. “But the tank is a very vital part of our system.”

The water tank, Eudy said, buffers all the water spikes the city sees with water being “pumped into our community.”

“It also gives us a reserve capacity to use during our high-demand peak periods, when we could actually be billed at a higher rate from Great Lakes Water Authority,” he said.

The restoration project included a lead removal pre-treatment solvent, which was applied to the surface of the 40-foot-tall, 67-foot-diameter water storage tank prior to its paint removal this past spring.

Eudy said that water mains have a defined life span.

“The pipes in the ground … have a lifespan of 75 to 125 years,” he said, adding that the city’s newest area in town, Chatham Hills, was built in 1970. “Those pipes are already nearing 50 years old.”

Other areas were built shortly after World War II.

“We’re really on the short side of the life span remaining of the expected life span of the water main — we know this,” Eudy said, adding that the city has a capital improvement committee that is formulating ideas and plans to address the issue.

“The city of Farmington is no different than any other community in the United States,” he said. “We’re all under the gun and realize we need to start really focusing on our infrastructure.”

For more information, go to www.ci.farmington.mi.us.