Saratoga’s long leaking water tower became the topic for discussion during the public comments portion of the Feb. 2 Saratoga Town Council Meeting.
The subject was raised by Josh Wood, editor of the Saratoga Sun, who was relaying a question from an unidentified reader about the “huge blue iceberg” that has accumulated below the leak on the north side of one of the town’s two water towers on airport hill, during this cold weather.
According to Councilman Jon Nelson, who is the council representative to both the Public Works Department and the Water and Sewer Joint Powers Board (JPB), the town is aware the tower has been leaking for some time and plans to repair it are being discussed.
Public Works Director Jon Winter who was not at the Council meeting, made no mention of that leak or of the ice buildup in his monthly written report to council and was not available for comment on this story. Research indicates that Winter met with Maguire Iron in November of 2016 to get a cost estimate for the repair of this one-million-gallon water tank. There was no discussion as to how much water has leaked from this large tank.
In response to further questions from Wood, Nelson detailed in some depth how the town is planning to address the leak.
“Is the water tank on the list to be repaired in the near future,” asked Wood
“It is yup,” said Nelson.
“Where is [this project] on the list of six penny projects,” Wood then asked, referencing those projects that can be funded by the recently renewed sixth penny tax levy.
“Yeah, it is fairly close to the top of our list,” said Nelson. “It’s a project that certainly we can fund with six penny money.”
Nelson then referenced another funding possibility. There is also potential funding that is available from the Wyoming Water Development Commission (WWDC), “if we go through the appropriate application process.”
According to Nelson, a Level One study was done a year to a year and a half ago that identified the tank as a priority project. With the study done, typically it moves on to a Level Two study, which is a feasibility analysis, then to Level Three, which is the project itself.
Nelson continued, stating there was not a whole lot of feasibility to stud, but there has been discussion.
“There was some conversation (at the JPB) about the possibility of leapfrogging directly into Level Three,” He added that rResearch indicates there is still time this year to put in an application with the WWDC for funding for this project, as the filing deadline for a Level Three project is not until Sept. 1.
“This has been discussed at the Water and Sewer Joint Powers Board level and I have also asked Mr. Winters to start taking the initial steps to figure out what exactly we are going to do with this tank,” said Nelson. “There has been talk about rather than replacing it, rehabilitating it (the existing tank) in place. This could mean disassembling it and reassembling it with new gaskets or panel joints, or you could put an epoxy liner inside. Relocating it (to somewhere else in town) has also been discussed. No cost estimate for this project was discussed.
“It (the leaking water tower) is certainly on our radar and now that some six-penny money is coming in we are one step closer to being at a point we can undertake a project like this,” said Nelson.
There was no further discussion as to how long it would take to accumulate enough six penny money to pay for a project of this size.