The Public Utilities Department updating and modernizing the water plant. This will make it much more energy-efficient and reliable as well as provide better continuity of service during a hurricane or other severe storm event. The water tower was originally constructed in 1955 and has served the City well, but the salt air has taken its toll on it and it either needs to be removed or replaced at great cost. With the new pumps that will be installed at the water plant, the water tower isn't needed to maintain water pressure in the system so there isn't a need to replace it. Meanwhile, there is a continuing need to provide a site for a cell tower to maintain cell coverage, so Verizon will be erecting a cell tower to transfer their antennas to.
Water Treatment Plant 1 (WTP 1) is a critical component to the City’s public drinking water system and provides a substantial portion of our potable water supply. The major components of WTP 1 are wells for the raw water supply, two raw water storage tanks, service pumps for system supply and pressure and a water tower. Gas chlorination is used to disinfect the water prior to pumping it into the distribution system. The water tower at WTP 1 was constructed in 1955, and the last substantial upgrade at WTP No. 1 was completed in 1992, and is approaching the end of its useful service life.
The City operates two additional water plants (WTP 2 & 3) that provide substantial potable water supply to the distribution system and one very small water plant (WTP 4) that provides a very minimal amount of potable water. All of the water plants communicate with each other through a SCADA system. This provides for redundancy and allows for water to be pumped into the distribution system in an efficient manner.
Currently, water system pressure in the City is limited by the height of the water tower at WTP 1 as well as the water tower at WTP 2. As a result of this limitation, some areas of the City currently do not achieve optimal system pressure to meet customer expectations. Resolving these issues will require modernization of the City’s water system, including upgrading the service pumps to modern variable speed drive pumps, replacing the gas chlorination system with liquid chlorine, and updating the SCADA control system.
Modernizing WTP 1 is a logical location to begin the modernization process of the City’s potable water system. This is due to the age of the service pumps and the fact that the water tower requires significant rehabilitation. The City hired J. Collins Engineering Associates to assist with an evaluation of what will be required to upgrade WTP 1. The results of this analysis include the following recommendations:
The total estimated costs for the WTP 1 upgrades, including dismantling the water tower and engineering & design is approximately $1,300,000. The first step in this process is to dismantle the water tower and work with Verizon to transfer their cell antennas to a temporary tower, followed by construction of a permanent monopole tower where the water tower is now.
A temporary cell tower, called a “cell on wheels” or COW, is being erected behind the water plant while the water tower is demolished, and will be used until a new cell tower is built where the water tower is now. It will be at the same height as the antennas are now on the water tower.
When is the temporary tower being installed? Likely in early May.