By Rick Palsgrove
City officials said customers on the Groveport water system may temporarily experience discolored tap water while the city’s main water tower undergoes maintenance and painting.
Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall said Caldwell Tanks will begin cleaning the inside and outside of the 200,000 gallon, 45-year-old, water tower, located along South Hamilton Road, on May 14 to prepare it to be painted. She said it will take about 45 days to clean and paint the water tower.
The city contracted with Caldwell Tanks for $40,000 per year for 11 years to perform painting, cleaning, maintenance and inspections on the city’s water towers.
The 200,000 gallon tank will be emptied while the work is being done. Hall said the 77-year-old, 100,000 gallon “Tin Man” water tower will be the primary water storage tank for city water customers until the maintenance on the South Hamilton Road water tower is completed.
“Our water contract with the city of Columbus allows us to tap into their water system for emergency use – and we’ve used them before in emergencies – but it doesn’t allow us to tap into them for 45 days for a maintenance project,” said Hall.
She said the city will conduct water flow tests in preparation for the water tank maintenance between May 14-17. She said customers may see cloudiness in their water and some particles for a short time, but added “the water is safe and not a problem.”
Hall said the “Tin Man” has been in use, but has not been the primary water source. She said making the old tower temporarily the primary tank means some sediment could be stirred up in the tank by the added pressure.
A letter was sent to Groveport water customers advising them of the situation. The letter outlines steps to be taken if customers experience water discoloration from their tap including:
•Shut your water off and wait several minutes. After waiting, check the clarity by running cold water for a few minutes to allow new water to flow into your pipes. Repeat if necessary, until water runs clear.
•Check your water before starting laundry, if discolored run until clear. The use of an iron removal chemical (such as RIT) is recommended during this week to ensure no staining of laundry occurs.
•If water pressure or volume seems low, check your faucet screens for trapped particles.
For information call the Public Works Department at 836-3910.
Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert commented, “I can’t imagine residents will like running their water extra to clear it out because of the cost of the water.”
Currently, water rate increases are scheduled for those on the Groveport water system as follows: 20 percent for the first 2014 billing; 20 percent in 2015; 12 percent in 2016; and 3 percent in 2017.
Councilman Ed Dildine expressed concern that a dependable water back-up source be in place while the main tower is down for maintenance.
“I don’t want there to be limited water in case there is a fire,” said Dildine.
Hall said city officials will make sure Groveport’s connection to the Columbus water line along South Hamilton Road is in good working order to serve as back-up water service in case of an emergency.
New water plant
Hall said plans are to begin construction of the new water plant this summer. She said the plant should be completed in about a year. The city contracted with Kirk Brothers to build the plant at a cost of $2.63 million.
She said the water plant will be built between the water tower and the storage barn along South Hamilton Road near the existing water plant. The demolition date for the old water plant is still to be determined.
“The current plant will stay in operation during construction of the new plant,” said Hall.
Additionally, Hall said the Ohio EPA has indicated the city can take the “Tin Man” water tower out of use after the construction of the new plant is completed.
“The ‘Tin Man’ will be torn down at the same time it is taken out of service when the new water plant is completed,” said Hall.
The water tower along South Hamilton Road will remain in use.
The existing Groveport water plant on South Hamilton Road was built in 1936. The workings of the plant were replaced in 1962 and the facility expanded from 1965-68. The plant underwent other refurbishments and upgrades from 1997 to 2002.
There are approximately 1,200 customers on the Groveport city water system and about 1,500 customers in Groveport who are on the Columbus water system, according to Groveport officials.