The first of two new water towers in Roswell was topped off Friday as crews lifted its 100-ton tank — 8 inches at a time — up the 150-foot pedestal.
The job took about three hours, with crews starting around 8 a.m. at the intersection of East Gillis Street and Earl Cummings Loop, next to the water tower built in 1942 for Walker Air Force Base.
The new 100-ton steel tank, which was constructed on the ground, couldn’t be lifted by cranes, so a series of lifting devices on the concrete pedestal was used, Roswell City Engineer Louis Najar said.
“It’s a battery of lifting devices. They’re all tied in together and they’ll lift it 8 inches at a time. They bring in a team just to do that,” he said.
Landmark Structures, Fort Worth, Texas, was the contractor for the lifting.
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The tank crew will soon move on to the second tower under construction near the intersection of West Martin Street and Earl Cummings Loop near the Eastern New Mexico State University-Roswell campus. That water tower is about 35% complete, Najar said.
“They’ve still got to complete what we call the crown, which is the top of the pedestal. Once they build the crown and once this tank is lifted off the ground and all the steel work for tank No. 1 is complete, that same crew will go over to the next tank,” he said.
The next milestone in the project will be painting the tank on the first tower, which Najar said will take place in October. The tank will be painted white with the city’s branded green logo on it.
Tank No. 1 should be in use by Christmas, and tank No. 2 by April, he said.
The tanks, each holding 750,000 gallons of water, will triple the capacity of the existing red and white water tower.
The biggest benefit to the Roswell Air Center and surrounding area will be increased fire protection, Najar said. The 2012 master water plan showed the original 500,000-gallon tower would not be sufficient.
“If there was a major fire, the existing tower would run out of water,” he said.
Once the towers are operational, residents and businesses should notice an increase in water quality and pressure, Najar said.
“It helps improve the quality of water because now you’re pumping two different directions and the circulation of the water is better,” he said.
The new towers should last 60 to 100 years, Najar said.
The cost of the project is $6.1 million, with $5.5 million paid through an Environmental Protection Agency Drinking Water State Revolving Loans Fund. The 20-year loan has an interest rate of 1.2%.
The original water tower, although historic, will not be able to be preserved due to the lead content of the paint, Najar said. It will be torn down and disposed of following federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, but Najar wasn’t sure yet when that would begin.
City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or email@example.com.