Cleaning Water Towers

by Emily Baird on August 2, 2010 at 6:47 am

When is the last time Zanesville’s water storage facilities have been disinfected and cleaned? The answer may surprise you. In most instances, they haven’t been touched since the 1980’s, but Public Service Director Mike Sims says that’s the case across much of the state.

"Some relating to just rust or scale deposits on the inside of the towers or tanks. That’s just from age, break-down of the sealants on the inside of the tanks and also due to the particles in the water supply that settle out in he towers if they’re not used," says Sims.

The city did have a vandalism incident five-years ago at the pioneer reservoir. It notified the EPA, which told workers to take the water off-line and drain it. The reservoir was deep cleaned and disinfected. Workers also added a security fence, cameras, and motion sensors on the site.

The cost was about $300,000. On average though, cleanings run between $3,000 and $10,000. That money has to either come from a rate increase or grants.

"Even though people complain that we raise rates, as often as we do, the water budget, all it does is keep us even as far as keeping in and paying the people to keep us in water," says Sims.

This lack of cleaning isn’t affecting the quality of the water though. Weekly and monthly testings are conducted, with samples being sent that are continuously coming back in the clear.

But there is a pro-active approach in place. State Senator Jimmy Stewart is initiating a house bill that would try to help communities make sure they have money put aside for general cleaning and maintenance at water storage facilities.