Crews nearing completion of $1.4 million reservoir


The city’s 1.5-million-gallon water reservoir, located at Valley View and McGinnis drives in north Weiser, currently has a large opening in the side that was cut to allow equipment access to the interior where repairs are being made. The original project estimate of $1.038 million jumped to $1.43 million after workers discovered that there was more deterioration than was revealed in an initial inspection that involved divers equipped with lights. Photo by Philip A. Janquart
By: 
Philip A. Janquart

Undetected deterioration pushed cost for repairs up to over $1.43 million

Work on one of the city’s 1.5-million-gallon water storage reservoirs is nearing completion.

 The reservoir, which was built in 1952, is located on Valley View and McGinnis drives in north Weiser. 
 Crews told the Signal American on March 22 that repairs should be complete in about three weeks.
 The project, which began last fall, was approved by Weiser City Councilmembers in June 2023 after an inspection identified rust and separation between rafters and the roofing panels they were welded to. Inspections are conducted every three to five years.
 Once work began, however, it was discovered that there was more deterioration than was visible during the initial inspection, which involved scuba divers equipped with lights.
 “When they started trying to weld, they found out that there was just too much oxidation,” said City of Weiser Water Department Supervisor Bill Taylor. “It looked alright with our inspections, but we didn’t know how bad it was until they actually started trying to weld it.”
 Taylor said part of the problem was the reservoir’s design.
 “The old roof floated on top of the rafters and there is a gap where moisture ate away at it,” he said. “This one is totally seam welded, so the roof is welded to all the rafters, all the way, so we’ll never have that issue again.”
 The original project estimate was $1.038 million, but jumped to a little over $1.43 million once the extent of the damage was discovered.
 About $1 million is covered by federal funds through the American Rescue Plan Act, which is part of the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by Congress under President Joe Biden in March 2021.
 Another 1.5-million-gallon reservoir, located on Chicken Hill, was refurbished about 10 years ago. It was built in the early 1970s.
 “This is actually only costing us $500,000 out of our savings. Now we basically have two brand new tanks,” said Taylor, noting a cost of approximately $8 million to completely replace a reservoir the size of Weiser’s.
 There has been no interruption in water services since the reservoir went offline last fall.
 “In the winter, it’s not a huge deal because we don’t use as much water,” said Weiser Public Works Director Mike Campbell in September 2023. “But we don’t like being down in the summer. We use more water and have more reserves for fire suppression. Our water plant, though, can make water faster than we use it. We just have to run it every day instead of every other day or every third day, so it just keeps the plant running more. So, we won’t have a short supply or anything.”
 Interesting to note is that, after the water had been drained, an opening was made on the side of the reservoir in order to get equipment needed for the repairs inside the giant space. Once completed, the metal sheet will need to be welded back into place and reinforced.
 “When we put it back, it will have to be welded up and then x-rayed,” said Jacob Hadden of USA Tank Services.
 The company was subcontracted under Viking Industrial Painting for a portion of the work.
 “Everything has to be certified to make sure it’s all good,” Hadden explained. “It’s pretty cool how they do it. We ended up taking the whole roof off and put a brand new roof on. We scrapped out the old one and hauled it off in big dumpsters and then we brought in a crane to set the new one.”
 He added that the crew still has interior and exterior painting to do in addition to closing the entry into the reservoir. They said working in Weiser has been enjoyable thanks, in part, to Kelly and Herb Haun. Herb is a city councilman and Kelly is the co-founder of two local charities.
 “They are the nicest people we ever met,” Hadden said. “We were packing up one night after working and were ready to shut the gate when they drove up. The guy standing next to me said, ‘I hope they have cookies.’ And if they didn’t get out of their truck with a plate of cookies! I was never so floored, and they were some of the best cookies we ever had. We’ve never experienced that before.”

 

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Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
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