SOUTHINGTON — Thirty-two ton concrete panels more than 60 feet tall were lifted into place Tuesday to form what will be the town’s newest water tower off Mill Street.
Construction crews from Preload, a Kentucky-based company, secured braces as a crane lowered the concrete panels, shaped like the staves of a barrel, onto a circular concrete pad.
The concrete tank will hold two million gallons of water and will replace two nearby steel tanks that date from 1947 and 1964.
Bill Casarella, town water department superintendent, said repairing and repainting the steel tanks at 435 Mill St. doesn’t make financial sense compared with the cost of a brand new tank.
A federal clean water loan program provided funding for the $3.2 million project at two percent interest.
The steel tanks are expected to last 100 years, as is the new concrete tank.
After the concrete tank is finished in a few months, the Water Department is also constructing a 120-foot communications tower on the site. The tower will provide communication to the department’s operating system, the town’s emergency services and cell companies and eliminate some trouble spots in town.
“That should benefit us quite a bit,” Casarella said.
The concrete sides of the tank should be up by the end of the week, according to Casarella and TJ Kilbride, a construction specialist with the engineering firm Tighe & Bond.
Preload will then wrap the entire structure in steel wire, coat the tank and pour a concrete top for it.
Kilbride said he’s been impressed with Preload, adding the company has been diligent about staying on schedule despite some obstacles. As of earlier this week, the project was a day behind.
“For a couple months-long project, that’s good,” Kilbride said. “Preload is a good contractor.”
Crews were delayed two weeks in starting construction on the tank due to flooding at their previous job in Texas.
The work should be complete in a few months. The steel tanks will be demolished last and only after the new tank has been brought into service.
Casarella was also glad Preload was able to use a local concrete supplier, F&F Concrete in Plantsville, for the project. Often large companies prefer to work with familiar subcontractors but Casarella said there was a concrete company less than two miles from the site.
The Board of Water Commissioners bought additional land off Mill Street four years ago in anticipation of a new water tank.