HADLEY — The Hadley Select Board voted unanimously to include a proposed $9 million project to replace two town water tanks on the spring Town Meeting warrant, allowing voters to decide on the measure.

DPW Director Scott McCarthy told the board that discussions dating back to 2021 indicated that both the Mount Warner and Mount Holyoke water storage tanks required significant maintenance work.

Following approval in 2022 for $310,000 in funds to paint the tanks, McCarthy said they enlisted the services of Westfield engineering group Tighe & Bond to survey the conditions of the two structures.

“As we started looking into this project and we found out that it is a lot more complicated than you think to paint a water tank and etcetera, so we decided to have Tighe & Bond come look at this project,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy said the conclusion was reached that the tanks were coming close to their life expectancy and that the options of trying to either rehab or replace the tanks became the forefront of the discussions.

Project Manager Danielle Teixeira and Project Director Jeffrey Faulkner provided a presentation to the Select Board.

Were the project to be approved by voters the two existing tanks would be removed, to be replaced by the new structures at the same locations.
The Mount Warner tank, which is on a .21-acre site off Mount Warner Road, was built in 1963 and is 68 feet in diameter, is 35 feet high, standing at an elevation of 352 feet.

The Mount Holyoke tanks is on an 0.5-acre parcel of land, was constructed in 1976 off Route 47. It stands at an elevation of 333 feet and is 60 feet in diameter, with a height of 50 feet.

Teixeira told the board that a 2022 inspection by Underwater Solution, Inc determined the protective coating for both tanks was declining and that there were signs of exposed steel and corrosion on each structure.

“We [Tighe & Bond] performed an alternatives analysis where we looked at rehabilitation versus construction of new tanks and a couple of different types of tanks,” Teixeira said.

For rehabilitation, Teixeira said that both tanks would require new interior and exterior coating systems that would last approximately 20 years while the total lifetime of a steel tank is 80 years, which would mean each tank would require replacement based upon their original construction dates.

“The rehabilitation is slightly less expensive, but the maintenance is very expensive,” Teixeira said.

Looking at complete replacement options, Teixeira said concrete tanks would require the highest capital costs, an expected six-month construction window and limited construction windows as work cannot be accomplished in cold weather. The life of the tanks would be approximately 80 years, requiring maintenance at 20-year and 40-year intervals.

The option of a ground level glass fused steel structure would provide a 2-month construction window, a potential life of 75 years and maintenance at 10-year and 20-year intervals. Teixeira said that option offered the lowest potential lifetime costs and was recommended by the engineering firm.

Teixeira also said the costs of rehabilitation versus replacement were comparable with some of the $9 million construction costs for new tanks funded through a 40-year loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The application would be filed upon voter approval at the spring Town Meeting with design expected to begin by fall of 2024, bidding to follow by winter and construction starting by spring of 2025 on one tank at a time.

McCarthy recommended replacement of the tanks but told the board that regardless of what is decided, some action had to be taken.

“We have to do something with this whether it’s the rehab or the replacement,” he said. “It’s mandated by the [Department of Environmental Protection], we have to do something.”

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