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Mon, Sept. 16

Prescott approves $5.6 million water tank project

PRESCOTT - In the past five years or so, the City of Prescott has pumped more than $15 million into the network of water-storage tanks spread throughout the community.

Those expenditures, in turn, are adding nearly 10 million gallons to the city's water-storage capacity, as well as replacing thousands of feet of water mains and antiquated pump stations.

The Prescott City Council approved the latest in a string of multi-million-dollar water tank projects this week, when it awarded a $5.6 million contract to CLM Earthmovers of Prescott.

The project will add a new 1.25-million tank along Skyline Drive in the Thumb Butte area, replacing a 200,000-gallon existing tank.

In addition, contractors will install new 12-inch and 8-inch water mains along West Gurley Street, Thumb Butte, Skyline Drive, and Country Club Circle, as well as a new pump station near the West Gurley/Josephine Street intersection.

A city memo notes that the project is necessary to deal with "insufficient capacity" in the city's Zone 27 (Thumb Butte area).

"Basically, the system capacity is taxed," Engineering Services Director Mark Nietupski said of the need for increased capacity. "We're meeting (the demand), but we don't have extra storage."

During peak demand times - especially during the dry, hot weather of early summer - Nietupski said the over-taxed system has at times resulted in issues such as low water pressure for customers.

Tim Burkeen, capital program manager for the city's public works department, noted that this week's Zone 27 project is one of five recent and current projects that will total about 10.3 million gallons of water capacity, replacing existing tanks that totaled about two million gallons of capacity.

Burkeen and Nietupski both stressed that the tank-replacement projects have been part of a long-term effort that originated with a 2005 "water model" that mapped the city's future water needs.

The model included a "whole list of projects," Nietupski said, which the city prioritized.

Earlier projects have included tank replacements on Indian Hill in southwest Prescott, another Thumb Butte-area project farther up Skyline Drive, and the north-Prescott reservoir near Willow Creek Road and Douglas Avenue.

Along with this week's contract, the city also is poised to kick off a $5 million project that will replace three small tanks totaling about 100,000 gallons with a one-million-gallon tank in the Copper Basin Road area.

Burkeen said that project is scheduled to go to the City Council for consideration later this month, while a new 3.25-million-gallon tank in the Prescott Airport area could be ready to go to the council in December or January.

Along with the increase in capacity, Burkeen said the new tanks also update the infrastructure. "These were all old tanks," he said, estimating that all of the replaced tanks were 40 to 50 years old.

Other future tank construction projects are slated for: the Haisley area; Arizona State Land near the auto dealerships along Prescott Lakes Parkway; the Willow Creek Road/Douglas area; and The Ranch subdivision area.

Burkeen emphasized, however, that an updated water model is currently under way. "The results of that study could potentially change our capital plan," he said.

In July, the City Council approved a $230,000 contract for update of the existing 2005 water model. The city expects the update to be complete by April 2013.

The tank project in the Thumb Butte area should get under way by October, and be complete by September 2013, according to the city memo.

The money for the project will come from the city's water fund, and was included in the current fiscal-year budget.

CLM was the low bidder, at $5,613,053. The project also generated bids from A. Miner Construction and Fann Contracting of Prescott, and Felix Construction of Phoenix, ranging from $5.8 million to $6.9 million. The city engineer's estimate for the project was $5,572,825.

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