Water tank maintenance scheduled to begin this week

A corporate spokesman for Pennsylvania American Water has said that customers should not notice any effect on service when maintenance work on a water storage tower in East Pikeland Township begins.

The company’s director of communications, Terry Maenza, said that, “weather permitting,” the project’s contractor could start “assembling material and equipment” at the tank, located in the Merlin Hills subdivision, by the end of the week.

The work will be performed by “Worldwide Industries Corp., and involves steel repairs and improvements, as well as sandblasting and applying paint on the interior and exterior of the tank,” according to a company fact sheet placing the project cost at $175,000.

A Pennsylvania American Water press release explained that the work would be part of $10 million worth of construction and rehabilitation projects planned for water storage tanks across the state in 2014. Describing the work being performed, the press release said crews would strip the existing paint and “apply a new coating, which serves as a protective barrier that prevents the steel from rusting and compromising water quality.”

The release said “mitigation procedures” would keep paint fumes and dust in compliance with local and state air pollution standards. The contractor would be “taking measures to minimize noise levels,” according to the fact sheet, also stating the work would take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, although it may be “performed outside of these hours if needed to maintain project schedule.” Work is expected to be completed at the end of June.

Maenza described the work as “a pretty deliberate process” including an inspection to identify any seal repairs needed or other structural issues. Following the application of several coats of paint, he added, the tanks interior “will be disinfected before we refill it with water.”

The fact sheet said that the tank “was built and last repainted in 1991.” Maenza said the 200,000-gallon tank, which was 32 feet tall and had a 34-foot diameter, was “functioning just fine.”

The company was trying “to be proactive and preventative” in its maintenance, he explained, adding, “It’s a way to extend the lifespan of an important piece of infrastructure for the water service for that community.”

Maenza said the tank stored water drawn from the Schuylkill River by the Shady Lane treatment plant, near Spring City. He said such tanks ensured the availability of an adequate water supply for fire protection or during peak periods of demand, such as during the summer. Maenza added that the tank was part of a local system with about 15,000 connections.

Although the tank would be pulled out of service during the rehabilitation process, “we’re able to supply the area with our other facilities and tanks in the area,” Maenza said. He added that “customers should not see any impact from this project.”

On the other hand, the company’s fact sheet included a statement that customers may experience reduced water pressure while the tank was not in service.

Maenza said he believed his company was hand delivering the fact sheet to residents in the immediate area of the tank to inform them about the work.