GRANVILLE — Installed in 1964, the underground water tank at Putnam County Junior High has reached the end of its service life. During an Aug. 6 special meeting, the Putnam County School Board unanimously voted to move forward with a project to replace the aging piece of infrastructure.
Representatives from the Healy Bender architectural firm and the local Chamlin and Associates engineering firm shared information with the board regarding their options and the challenges each could possibly include.
EPA regulations prohibit the installation of another underground tank, and several financial aspects of replacement options currently remain unknown.
“We’ve also learned there’s asbestos involved, and we’re waiting for verification on whether we can leave the existing tank and just fill it, or whether we’ll have to remove it and abate the asbestos,” Superintendent Carl Carlson said.
Dave Patton of Healy Bender said the district has two potential options. The first would be to run an extended length of new 6-inch water line to McNabb and connect to the village’s water supply. Patton said if fire protection was a component of the water supply, the size of the line would need to be increased to 12 inches.
He added if easements could be obtained from multiple farmers, the length of line needed would be a minimum of 10,000 feet.
“But we’re not even sure if the village would allow this, or if the farmers would agree to the easements. There would also be the financial components of the easements, as well as an estimated $300 a month ongoing charge from McNabb based on the school’s water consumption rates,” Patton said.
The second, and more likely, option is the installation of an above-ground tank near the same area as the underground tank. This option would also include the construction of a small building that would house a portion of the tank, as well as controls and a heat and circulation system to prevent freezing. This option has an estimated cost of roughly $108,000.
The 30-foot-long above-ground tank, with a diameter of 10 feet, would connect to the existing well and have a 20,000-gallon capacity. Both Patton and Mike Perry, also of Chamlin, said it would be unlikely the operation of the school would be interrupted because most of the work could be completed before switching over to the new tank.
“The worst-case scenario is we’d have to bring in a pressurized tank,” Carlson said.
The biggest issue, time-wise, is the 14 to 16 weeks needed to construct and deliver the tank. It was estimated approximately 45 days would be needed to receive the required permits. Patton and Perry said completing the project during the winter wouldn’t necessarily be a problem because firm ground could be helpful as the new tank is put into place with a crane. Additionally, a majority of the project could be completed beforehand.
The board voted to approve moving forward, as well as the transfer of $250,000 from the Working Cash Fund into the Operations and Maintenance Fund to pay for the work. Carlson said any money left over from the project would be transferred back into the Working Cash Fund.
Carlson also said the project should be considered part of the district’s upcoming overall facility plan.
“This project would score very high on the plan’s prioritized list,” Patton said.
The board is expecting to receive the results of the ongoing survey of the district’s four buildings this fall. The survey will be used in the development of a 10-year improvement and replacement plan. It will prioritize a number of projects for the board, including many that Carlson said would be “big ticket items.”
The next Putnam County School Board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19.