Prior to the completion of this project, the Village of Fairchild owned and operated a 100,000 gallon welded steel standpipe constructed in 1969. In its 34-year service life it had been painted at least twice without removing the original lead-based paint coating. Interior and exterior deterioration was significant when the Village decided to let bids for complete restoration in 2002. The low bid was $114,773.00, which included removal and proper handling and disposal of the lead-based paint, welding the severely pitted interior and priming and painting the tank. The estimated time to complete was 45-60 days.
The engineering challenge was to provide a more cost-effective solution limiting the time out of service and time without fire protection.
Repainting is considered maintenance by funding agencies and as such is not an eligible activity to receive financial assistance. However, if capacity, pressure and fire protection are deficient, a replacement project may be fundable. Although offering zero downtime, a completely new storage tank of any type was too costly and prohibited by site conditions. Constructing a glass-fused-to-steel standpipe on the existing tank foundation proved to be the solution. The result: a new maintenance-free standpipe, increased water pressure and storage capacity and a 52 percent Rural Development Grant with a net local cost of $80,711.00 (42 percent less than painting). The project was completed with only a 23 day downtime.