Repairs to Amsterdam water tank estimated at $800,000

One of the city’s three water tanks is in need of repair, according to water filtration plant superv

One of the city’s three water tanks is in need of repair, according to water filtration plant supervisor Mike Ryba.

The cost of repairs is estimated at $800,000 by Georgia-based Utility Service Co., which pitched the city on its water tank maintenance program Tuesday.

The city’s water system, including the land in Saratoga County that has the reservoirs, all the utilities and the water filtration plant, is one of its largest assets. Two years ago the system was valued at $150 million.

The city has 12 million gallons in reserve in the three tanks; the Tecler tank, Locust Avenue tank and Brookside Avenue tank each hold 4 million gallons.

The city is required by the state Health Department to have reserve water in case something should happen to the water filtration plant.

“It’s a major part of our system,” Ryba said.

In June, Utility Service Co. drained the 4 million-gallon tank on Shuttleworth Avenue near the William B. Tecler Elementary School and inspected it at a cost of $3,500. A major problem with the tank was found to be rust, vice president of sales George Shannon said. Condensation has caused the tank to rust on the outside about halfway up on one side. The inside of the tank is rusting as well, along with the top hatches; portions of the foundation are crumbling and need to be replaced.

Utility Service Co. said it would recommend replacing the entire inside and outside coatings; the company would strip the tank down to the steel and recoat it.

“It would be like we had a brand new tank,” Ryba said.

That project, along with other repairs and safety upgrades, such as a new hatch and additional manhole, would cost about $800,000, Shannon said. The cost would be spread out over six years, if the city were to enroll in the company’s maintenance plan.

Shannon said the city would pay $156,000 a year for the first six years, then about $60,000 in annual maintenance fees each year after that for as long as the city continued the contract.

In return, Utility Service would take care of any problems with the tank, including removing graffiti, inspect it once per year and drain the tank to inspect the interior every second year.

Currently, the city doesn’t do yearly inspections on the tank, and hadn’t drained it since 1992, when it was last refurbished.

Aldermen said Tuesday they wanted more information from other companies before they could make a decision. Alderman Joseph Isabel, R-1st Ward, asked Ryba to seek prices from other companies.

Alderman William Wills, D-4th Ward, said he thought the program had merit. “It’s kind of like an insurance policy,” he said.

Mayor Ann Thane said she thinks the council should discuss it further.

“It’s a costly option, but we want to protect the city’s assets to the best of our ability,” she said.

Ryba said refurbishing the tank doesn’t have to take place this year, but should be done by spring 2011, at least. The longer the city waits, the more expensive repairs would be.

He said he doesn’t think the service plan is a bad idea, especially given that the tank is 40 years old, and he likes the fact that the tank would look brand new all the time. He said the tank, emblazoned “Amsterdam” on two sides, is a major marker in the community.

However, Ryba said he agrees with Isabel that the city needs to see what some other companies would offer the city.

He said there are other companies that would refurbish the tank for a price and give the city a one-year warranty.

Utility Service Co., based in Perry, Ga., bills itself as the largest water tank maintenance and management company in the country. It maintains about 8,000 municipal water tanks in 42 states, though none in New York. The company has just begun to expand into the Northeast, according to Shannon.

Categories: Schenectady County

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