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Sun, Sept. 22

Water tank design contract up for council approval

PRESCOTT - With about 83 percent of the community's water supply flowing through it, the storage tank along Willow Creek Road plays a crucial role in Prescott's water system.

To increase the capacity, security, and sanitation features of the tank, the city is proposing a new 3-million-gallon tank to replace the 1.4-million gallon that has stood on the site for more than 60 years.

This week, the Prescott City Council heard a report from Engineering Services Director Mark Nietupski about the 1940s-era Old North Reservoir tank that stands east of Willow Creek Road and north of Douglas Avenue.

Because of its age, Nietupski said, the tank's building materials "are not consistent with today's standards."

For instance, he pointed out that the tank's makeup includes a galvanized metal-sheeting roof and redwood beams - neither of which would be part of a modern tank.

Nietupski told the council that a new tank "would be in the best interest of the health and safety" of the community because of security and sanitation issues.

In addition, a memo to the council noted that the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality did an inspection in 2006 and indicated that the city needed a long-term plan to bring the tank into compliance with new regulations.

Even so, Nietupski later noted that the old water tank does not pose an immediate public threat.

"The water is well-chlorinated, and it meets all of the standards for purity," Nietupski said on Wednesday.

Replacement of the tank was among the recommendations of the water-model study that a consultant conducted for the city in 2005.

Nietupski pointed out that a larger tank is necessary for capacity, involving water pressure and flows, for the entire community.

The new 3-million tank would join another tank of a similar size at the site, Nietupski said.

The city is considering entering into a $342,624 contract with the Shephard-Wesnitzer Inc. firm for engineering and design of the replacement tank.

Referring to the controversy that the city faced in 2008 over a replacement water tank on Indian Hill in southwest Prescott, Councilwoman Mary Ann Suttles questioned Nietupski about public involvement with the Willow Creek Road tank.

"Have there been any pre-meetings done in the neighborhood?" Suttles asked.

Nietupski noted that public meetings would be a part of the engineering and design that Shephard-Wesnitzer would do.

The old tank is partially underground, and city officials say the new tank would be at the same elevation. Nietupski said the tank would be relatively obscured from the surrounding neighborhood and traffic on Willow Creek Road.

Council members appeared supportive of the design contract and placed the item on its consent agenda for their March 10 voting session.

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