Replacing the Reservoir
How often do you get service life out of water tanks for 130 years? We here in Frankfort have been fortunate to have been served by our water reservoir in Tanglewood since 1885. That is an amazing feat.
However, in recent years, the reservoir has shown signs of seepage and slippage. There has also been ongoing deterioration of the roof and gunite lining. We are now facing the fact that this reservoir, the key to our community’s water distribution system, has reached the end of its service life and is in dire need of replacement.
FPB has been anticipating this project for more than 10 years as it has been making interim repairs. Staff has taken the necessary steps to consider all options. Doing nothing is not an option. So that has left repair, move or replace.
Strand Associates, an engineering consulting firm that has assessed the reservoir since 2007, conducted a thorough review of the data and design constraints provided by staff and has made specific recommendations for the project.
Repairing the existing structure is just not practical. It was estimated that necessary repairs would cost anywhere from $2.8 to $4.2 million and would only guarantee a 15 to 20-year fix (a far cry from 130 years).
Consultants and staff also 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.
These sites included the Berry Hill/Juniper Hill area, which was estimated to total $6 million; land next to the AT&T tower off Sower Blvd., estimated to cost $11.1 million; and space behind Franklin Square Shopping Center, estimated to cost $14.5 million.
Because the water system infrastructure is already in place at the Tanglewood site, replacing the tanks there was estimated to cost less than the alternatives at $4 million and would guarantee a 50+-year fix.
After reviewing the recommendations from the consultants and FPB staff, taking in to account the comments from local residents, and weighing the board’s fiscal responsibility to all of its ratepayers, it was clear that the current site is the best and most affordable option for existing and future water storage.
In 2017, the FPB board approved a plan to replace the two existing 4.6 million-gallon flat-roof tanks with a single 7 million-gallon domed-roof tank. FPB is basing this need on historical data, not projections. The data shows that the community needs 7 million gallons of storage at the reservoir to meet demand. The cost for this project would be nearly $4 million.
A single 7 million-gallon tank is the most responsible option to all ratepayers. It represents a significantly smaller footprint on the site than what currently exists, and will have the least rate impact today. The one tank will also meet the community’s water needs well into the future (projected beyond 2060).
Once the final design is approved, the north basin will remain operational while the south basin is replaced. When the new tank is complete, the north tank will be removed, leaving greenspace and an area to build another tank in the future, only if demand requires it.
In the future - if we need more storage capacity, we have a space to build a tank that is cost effective. It would be irresponsible if we did not prepare for the future of our community.
The reservoir site has a two-tank capacity, but building two tanks now will require additional future storage somewhere else. Because suitable locations are limited and costly, building two smaller tanks now will not only cost more now but also cost significantly more later when needed.