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Council moves ahead with water storage project

Work on 400,000- gallon ground storage reservoir to start in spring

SOLON– It will take Solon to a whole new level.
Bids for the construction of a 400,000-gallon water tank at the Solon Recreation and Nature Area will be awarded next month.
The project, originally expected to start in the spring of 2016, will now get underway a year later, with completion sometime in the fall of 2017.
The ground storage reservoir (GSR) will triple the capacity of the city’s municipal water storage, currently limited to a single 200,000-gallon water tower.
Solon City Council members held public hearings on two projects– the GSR and its accompanying booster station– at a Nov. 2 meeting.
According to City Engineer Dave Schechinger, the GSR portion will go to bid first.
“That will give the contractor that is successful there an opportunity to also put in a more competitive bid on the booster station and water main improvements which will be bid on Dec. 1,” he told council members during an overview.
Contracts for both projects should be available for approval in December, he said.
“It’s not going to say ‘Solon’ on it?” asked City Attorney Jim Martinek after Schechinger’s comments.
“Not intentionally,” Schechinger responded.
Building the new tank and its pump building will cost will be somewhere around $1.5 million. The projects include a 50-foot diameter reservoir, an electrical generator and a booster pump station. It also includes engineering costs and an additional 12-inch water main from Racine Avenue to the storage site.
The construction will be financed through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) program. In addition, the city received an SRF capitalization grant which will forgive 75 percent of the cost of the emergency generator.
The 400,000-gallon water tank would be located on 0.6 acres of land adjacent to the Solon Recreation and Nature Area (SRNA) which the city purchased from St. Mary Catholic Church at a price of $25,000.
Back in December of 2104, council members followed the recommendation of a subcommittee and voted to proceed with a GSR near the city’s fourth well at the SRNA.
The group reviewed options for both ground storage and a water tower, as well as practical sites for each.
Water towers are not dependent on electrical controls, but are expensive to maintain, have specific site requirements and can take a long time to build.
GSRs have lower maintenance and can be built faster, but require a booster station with standby power to pump water into the city system.
“We did an evaluation of both options, long-term costs, and it came out very close,” Schechinger said. “We had decided on the booster station with the ground storage tank.”
The city’s current water tower capacity of 200,000 gallons is not enough to meet either the average-day demand requirements for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources or fire flow requirements.
The water report, a prerequisite of the SRL application process, stated Solon’s average daily water use increased from 126,294 gallons per day in 2010 to 161,667 gallons per day in 2014.
Council members took no action after the conclusion of the hearings for the project and no public comment was received.