Inspection Prompts Water Tank Repairs

Posted in: United States Water News, Water Contamination, Water Crisis
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Greensburg Water Department Superintendent Rick Denney points to crumbling concrete of a water tank, or clear well, north of the city’s water plant. An inspection by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management will require that the tanks be repaired to keep contaminants out of the water. Photo Credit: Boris Ladwig | Daily News

Article courtesy of Boris Ladwig | July 25, 2015 | Greensburg Daily News | Shared as educational material

GREENSBURG — Cracks and leaks in two local water storage tanks have to be fixed immediately to prevent water contamination, a state agency has told the city’s water department.

The water board this week approved spending $36,500 to place a rubber membrane over the two tanks on North Ireland Street.

Greensburg Water Department Superintendent Rick Denney said the project will be paid out of the department’s general fund and will not raise water rates. He said the department always has some funds available for unforeseen repairs and maintenance.

The concrete tanks, or clear wells, that will be repaired hold a combined 150,000 gallons of treated water, which is sent from the tanks into the distribution system and to Greensburg businesses and residents. Though the water in the tanks is cycled about eight times per day — the city uses an average of 2.3 million gallons of water daily — contaminants can enter the tank through holes and cracks, state officials worry.

Denney said three Indiana Department of Environmental Management employees inspected the city’s water infrastructure July 16 and 17 and noted the potential tank infiltration as a major deficiency.

“When they say we have to do something, we have to do it,” Denney said.

IDEM conducts such inspections every three years. An agency spokesman could not say this week how many major deficiencies the agency typically finds per year.

Denney said he appreciates the agency’s inspections because they sometimes identify potential trouble spots that the local department may miss.

The tanks were built in the 1950s, Denney told the water board this week, and some of the concrete is cracking and breaking off, especially on the southern, slightly older tank. Repair crews will have to repair some of the damage to the concrete before they can drill foam board into the concrete and glue the rubber membrane on top to seal the tanks.

As Denney walked across the top of the two tanks this week he pointed to crumbling concrete and holes in access hatches that could allow rain water or other substances to contaminate the treated water in the tanks. The hatches, too, will be covered by the rubber membrane.

Denney said that he has contacted St. Paul-based Double E Roofing to make the well repairs, which he hopes will be completed within a couple of weeks.



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