Lamar Water Tank Project Nearing Completion


Removing old piping from tank interior

There’s a ground-level hole cut in the side of the city of Lamar’s six million gallon water tank, big enough for you to drive a pick up truck through.  A couple of trucks, actually, part of the refurbishment project for the main water tank for Lamar. 

The project is part of the $5 Million overhaul of the city’s water system, which was postponed from this spring because of a subcontractor deadline conflict.  The city decided to wait past the summer when water demand was at its peak.  City water and wastewater manager, Doug Montgomery said water use is still healthy.  “Right now, we’re still using about a million gallons a day,” he added.  All of that water is coming out of the newer, two million gallon capacity tank situated just west of the older, larger one.  

Interior of the 30 foot tall tank

Over the years, the interior of the older tank has gotten rusty from top to bottom.  The project calls for new piping to be connected and the interior will be sandblasted down to bare metal and repainted with an epoxy type paint that was used on the exterior.  “It took four days to drain the 30 foot tall tank to the ten foot level through normal use,” said Montgomery.  “After that we started switching to the smaller tank  until the larger one was dry.”  Montgomery said he was surprised to learn the walls of the tank were so thick.  “It’s about an inch and a quarter at the base and then it starts to decrease about ten feet up,” he said. 

Part of the chlorination unit for city water supply

The tanks and the water chlorination system are fed from a group of wells south of Lamar.  That water is mixed with a regulated solution of chlorine and fluoride and gravity fed into the city from two lines…one running along the original Memorial Drive route, and the newer one which cuts west across Highway 287 and then goes north into Lamar, providing a separate feed source.  Before that, the city was fed from one tank into one line.  Now, the feeds run from either tank, independently, so if one has a problem, the city still has a water source.  The two main lines also can feed the city, and if one should shut down, there’s still a water source for daily use, or for fighting fires.  The old treatment plant, near the city dog pound was closed in favor of the new plant just feet from the tanks.  The old plant used chlorine in tanks, which had to be replaced periodically.  The new system uses a form of electrolysis to generate the chorine which is mixed with fluoride.  Montgomery said the new system provides safer water because the amount of contact time with the chlorine has increased before it’s used by water customers. 

Workers preparing to remove pipe

Additional plans call for a line to run from Memorial Drive and loop into the water main used by Prowers Medical Center.  Montgomery said he hopes the cost of the project falls within the remaining $400,000 balance of the loan given to the city for the entire water refurbishment project.

By Russ Baldwin


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