Standpipe set for renovation

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rising high above the horizon and emblazoned with the city's Hearts in Harmony logo, the Concordia water tower is easily the most visible component of the city's water distribution system. A humbler counterpart assists it, however.

Patrons of the Concordia's aquatic center have probably noticed the standpipe, a 27-foot-wide white cylinder standing 117 feet tall. Those who have taken a closer look might have noted the exterior paint is showing its age and a recent inspection by Utility Service Co. of Liberty, found the interior is also in need of repair.

Tom Stechmann, who represents the company in western Missouri, was on hand recently to discuss renovating the standpipe with the Concordia Board of Aldermen. Stechmann told the board his company currently provides maintenance services to approximately 7,000 towers, including Concordia's water tower.

"Water storage is our core business," he said. "We're very confident we'll save a lot of money if you compare apples to apples."

Mike Logston, of MECO Engineering, said he had worked with City Administrator Dale Klussman to explore a range of options including completely removing the standpipe and replacing it with some other storage facility.

"Economically, this is the most viable," Logston said. "Once you get the standpipe refurbished, it's like a new tank."

Stechmann agreed, saying that if they are properly maintained, a standpipe like the one in Concordia could be in service for more than a century.

The work on the tower will be fairly extensive. Both the exterior and interior coatings are at the end of their life expectancy and are showing signs of corrosion. Stechmann said the exterior will need to be properly repaired and recoated. The interior, which has an epoxy coating system, will also need to be relined to prevent any further metal loss.

The renovation will also address several safety issues. Stechmann noted a cluster of antenna cables have been attached to the top of an exterior ladder that gives access to the tower roof. To meet accepted safety standards, the cables will need to be moved to a location away from the ladder, he said.

Additionally, while the standpipe's access hatch complies with OSHA standards, it does not have a secondary access point. Under the Utility Service plan, a second 24-inch diameter "manway" access would be added.

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