By Will McClure
The construction of a new 500,000 gallon raw water storage tank at the Stamford Water Treatment Plant began this past week to replace the over 50-year-old one million gallon tank that had collapsed and been removed last June. The old tank was purchased used when first installed and had a large rust and sludge buildup, caused by algae and organic elements from the lake as well as the chemical reaction from the pre treatment process. The roof of the riveted structure had also caved in three to four years ago during the last major snow, putting an immense pressure on the tank causing the roof to eventually collapse. While the tank was still functioning, the decision was made in June before state inspection to replace the old, worn out, tank. The brand new tank, with its base currently completed and the welding process beginning last Thursday, will take about a month to complete, with an expected completion date of around November 15th, weather permitting.
The new tank will be of a ¼ inch thickness and will be welded together in pieces to help maintain the structure as it is slowly built up and will be painted and coated on the inside to help prevent rust buildup, a result of the chemical used in the pre treatment process. The tank will be fitted with a new inspection port which will allow plant workers to see inside and determine if the tank needs cleaning. Two access ports will be added to opposite sides of the structure, as opposed to the one port on the old tank, to allow two workers to enter on either side, thus doubling the efficiency of the cleaning process. The cleaning will occur at least every six months or sooner if buildup occurs more quickly, a complete departure from the cleanup of the older tank that had become too dangerous for workers to enter in its collapsed state. With the new tank, plant workers will be able to resume the normal pre treatment process, resulting in an expected change in water quality in both taste and odor. Workers hope that this will help rectify the water problems, but nothing will be for certain until the new tank in fully operational.
Until the completion of the new tank, the Water Treatment Plant will continue to treat water as it comes into the plant. Since the older tank was removed in June, the plant had to change the pre treatment process since water could no longer be stored. As the water is drawn from the lake, plant workers need to add a strong oxidation chemical, which helps clean the water and remove harmful sediments such as algae. When stored in the tank, less chemical could be used as the water would have a longer time to absorb the chemical and treat the harmful bacteria. With the removal of the tank, almost twice as much chemical is needed to treat and remove the bacteria more quickly before officially entering the plant. Because of this, the water is tested more often in a single day in order to help maintain the correct balance as well as maintain the quality of the water. The water currently leaving the plant meets all standards put forth by the state of Texas, but will continue to be closely monitored during the current treatment process until the new tank is operational.
The new tank is still well under construction and is expected to be completed by November 15th followed by another company arriving to hook up the tank to the plant’s plumbing. Workers expect the tank to be fully functional by the end of November or early December.