Montrose’s aging water tanks to be repaired or replaced this year

Council talked water during Monday night’s meeting and approved an $8,400 feasibility review for reservoir rehabilitation.

After six decades almost anything will begin to slow down and show signs of age.

So a noteworthy update, estimated to cost up to $285,000, is planned for Montrose as the village readies to celebrate its 60th birthday this year.

Though Family Fun Day festivities are still under wraps, council did talk water during Monday night’s meeting and approved an $8,400 feasibility review for reservoir rehabilitation.

Structural upgrades are required for the village’s two welded steel water tanks: the lower reservoir was built in 1959 with a capacity of 455 cubic metres (m³); the upper 909 m³ reservoir has been in use since 1979.

Signs of deterioration are evident on the outside of the powder-coated tanks including cracks and rust on the upper tank.

Additionally, the village’s 2010 master water plan noted existing gaps between the floor and base of both tanks, the older reservoir is no longer level after years of settlement, and excessive deflection on the roof of the upper tank doesn’t meet current building code requirements.

“Basically this proposal will get us to the next level with some predesign engineering services for the project,” explained Chief Administrative Officer Bryan Teasdale. “It’s highly likely the project would proceed in the fall when water usage is as low as possible. But we need to get everything up and ready to go.”

Roof repairs were budgeted in 2015, but work came to a standstill as the project’s true scope was realized.

“We initiated the project very briefly and found to successfully (repair) the lower reservoir we would have to take the tank off-line,” Teasdale noted. “We cannot do that and supply water to the village.”

Repair versus replacement also came into question due to the age of the water repositories.

“Because we are looking at infrastructure, ages 37 and 57 respectively, the average lifespan is 60 years, so one reservoir is definitely reaching its optimal time,” continued Teasdale. “The question has come up, ‘Do we fix old infrastructure to get more life’ or is it better to try to build a new tank which will provide better fire flow?”

A new federal program is available for potential grant money, which could be leveraged by village reserves, he added.

Council’s decision on moving forward is dependent upon the engineering report, which will assess the feasibility and related costs of taking each reservoir out of service in addition to structural expenses.

The study will also outline the cost and benefit of continued operations and maintenance of the existing reservoirs against the price to construct new tanks.

“Last year we wanted to do the repairs,” Mayor Joe Danchuk reiterated. “We went to isolate (the lower tank) and found we couldn’t do that and keep water to everybody in the village,” he added. “The key is we want to get this done sooner rather than later, but in no way have we made any decisions whether we are going to build a new tank or complete repairs.”

Previously, the village’s master water plan recommended a thorough inspection of the Montrose reservoirs to determine how widespread repairs would be.

Assessing reservoir storage needs based on fire flow analysis of village structures was another suggested action.

A follow up study of fire flow (the amount of water that should be available for municipal fire protection) concluded that existing storage volumes achieved the minimal required capacity to be a recognized system by the Fire Underwriters Survey (FUS).

Calculated fire flow requirements for various commercial buildings also reflected existing reservoir volumes were deficient in relation to municipal guidelines as well as the recommended FUS storage volume.

The Fire Underwriters organization provides data on public fire protection for fire insurance statistical work and underwriting purposes of subscribing insurance companies. FUS subscribers represent approximately 85 percent of the private sector property and casualty insurers in Canada.

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