CHARDON — The Water and Sewer Committee last week discussed the city’s aging water system and the pros and cons of constructing an additional water tower.
City Council committee members along with representatives from CT Consultants discussed the existing water model and areas of concern.
“One of the big reasons CT was brought to the table is currently there is only one water tower and one clear well in the system,” said Alan Frygier, engineer with CT Consultants. “A clear well is essentially like a water tower,” he said. “It’s where the water is stored prior to being pumped” into the distribution system.
Water pressure is an area of concern, officials said, along with what would happen if a water tower were taken out of service.
“Your water operation team does a fantastic job, you have no low pressures besides the suction side of service pumps, which is not an issue,” Mr. Frygier said. “Going into higher pressures, the city has noted that there have been no major issues or complaints from residents on these higher pressures, and if you are on it, I bet you didn’t even notice.”
For proper maintenance, the city needs to replace 1 percent of the water mains annually, the consultants said.
“If you are to go through replacing your 1 percent annually, those older mains and the higher-pressure areas sustain a higher pressure and more stress on them, and that’s where you want to start looking to replace” them, Mr. Frygier said. “The system ages so anything that has a lifespan that would be typically called a 100-year lifespan on a pipe, it has a 50-year design, and we need to look to replace those after their expected design lifecycle.”
According to Mr. Frygier, water transmission lines are typically 12 inches in diameter and carry a bulk of the water to supply the system from the water treatment plant. “You guys do a fantastic job of having a 12-inch main or larger touching just about every end of the system,” Mr. Frygier said.
Pointing to a single transmission grid on South Street, Mr. Frygier said if the main snaps at any point in a specific area prior to any improvements that CT Consultants is recommending, the north part of the system will be out of water once that tank drains.
Chardon’s average daily water demand is 457,000 gallons and there are approximately 1 million gallons of storage in the existing water tower that covers the average daily demand plus fire flow capacity.
Mr. Frygier described how the city could maintain the existing clear well and water tower.
“Everything needs maintenance, obviously, so what do we have to do to the system if the water tower is taken out, or how are we going to maintain that clear well,” said Mr. Frygier. “Well, we need to provide redundancy for both of them,” he said. Since both are expensive projects, the next step is to decide which one is more beneficial, he added.
With an additional water tower, he said, there would be more storage. The fire department would have more water pumped into the system that just needs gravity to draw it down, he added.
“By proposing this new tower by taking the load off of the existing tower, you’ll have redundant water and increased flexibility for maintenance and repair of the existing tower and be able to provide maintenance on the painting that needs done on the existing tower,” said Mr. Frygier.
Disadvantages of the elevated storage include the rising cost of steel and there will be an increase in water age due to more water in storage, he added.
“The biggest factor of this is that we need to look at, this does not aid in the clear well rehab because we need the water to be stored prior to pumping it into the system,” said Mr. Frygier.
Advantages of the clear well are significantly less expensive than the water tower, he explained, which would aid in both the clear well improvements needed to take the existing clear well offline. “We’ll have a redundant one that can hold that treated water to be pumped into the system and when the tower is offline, we have to essentially have treated water to pump into the system and we have multiple pumps that can help us pump that treated water,” said Mr. Frygier.
Disadvantages of the clear well are that the city would have to pump the water that is currently not in their system sitting above their heads ready for use.
CT Consultants recommended that the city proceed with the clear well project.
“The space is already there so that makes it a lot easier on us, we don’t have to find somewhere to store this, the space was already designed so we have the opportunity to proceed with that,” said Mr. Frygier. “If we go with both of these upgrades it’s going to be a very significant cost and the only way we could warrant this additional tower on top of the clear well is if there’s a significant increase in the water demand.”