Replacing the Reservoir: Frequently Asked Questions

1.       What’s all the fuss about?

The Frankfort Plant Board has plans to replace the city’s existing reservoir tanks, which has resulted in litigation involving FPB and the Frankfort City Commission. The disagreement hinges on FPB’s proposal to replace two 135-year old 4.6 million gallon tanks with one 7 million gallon tank. The City Commission intervened and voted unanimously to favor a more costly two 4.6 MG tank replacement option presented by the Tanglewood Neighborhood Association (TNAi).


2.       How much more costly is the plan that is supported by the City Commission?

Two 4.6 MG tanks costs $3 million more than FPB’s approved plan for a single 7 MG tank. It will also be significantly more costly in the future if water demand increases and more water storage capacity is needed. Building two tanks now at the capacities that currently exist, as supported by the City Commission, would require additional future storage elsewhere. Suitable locations are limited and expensive.


3.       Where would that extra $3 million come from?

Water rates are determined by Water Department expenses. Funds for a new tank will come from rates paid by water customers, not subsidized by other FPB departments.


4.       Why replace the tanks at the reservoir right now?

The current reservoir tanks are 135 years old. They have exhibited signs of seepage and slippage, as well as a failing roof. Replacement is the most cost-effective solution because it affords a longer service life than repairing. The tanks have lasted significantly beyond their service life and at increasing risk of failure. The frequency of repairs has increased significantly over the last five years and is costly. 


5.       Were other sites considered to re-locate the reservoir?

Yes. Consultants and staff evaluated alternative sites. Moving the reservoir would require moving and re-routing the necessary infrastructure for the water system, thus adding to the base cost of building the tanks. The other options considered included Juniper Hills, behind Franklin Square and off Sower Blvd. All would cost significantly more (as much as $10 million at one of them) than building at the current reservoir site.


6.       Will one 7 MG tank keep up with the water demand of our community?

Yes. Frankfort Plant Board projected demands (based on 20-year historical usage) show that one 7 MG tank meets projected water demand beyond 2060.


7.       What if there is an increased demand in the future?

Since the single tank proposal will only require a fraction of the footprint currently occupied, there will be adequate space at the same location in the future to build more water storage capacity, if needed. The infrastructure is already in place there to keep costs for future storage at a minimum.


8.       How does selling water wholesale to neighboring communities affect demand and water rates for local retail customers?

Local residential customers do not pay a higher water rate because of the costs to sell water to wholesale customers. Last year, our wholesale customers provided 19 percent of our necessary revenue. If we discontinued sales to our wholesale customers, FPB’s revenue requirements for those fixed costs would not change. Our retail customers would have to absorb those costs and their rates would have to increase by approximately 21 percent.


9.       Why doesn’t the City Commission support FPB’s more fiscally responsible plan, but instead favors TNAi’s more costly option?

Great question!