Water Resources Dept. starts tank maintenance program: Begins work at Lower Lynn Tank

Published 6:41 pm Monday, April 3, 2017

Being proactive is the name of the game for the Elizabethton Water Resources Department.
Since its inception, the department, under the guidance of General Manager Johann Coetzee, has looked at different ways of improving a water and sewage system that’s seen its fair share of rough times over the years.
With different programs coming through the pipeline, the department is implementing their water tank rehabilitation project — addressing each of the different water tanks that service the system in the community.
“We’ve basically started a tank maintenance program,” Compliance Coordinator Jonathan Pleasant said. “We’re going to paint one tank each year. For the most part, we have steel tanks and the paint does deteriorate. There’s very thick millage on the paint, there’s a very specific type of paint they use on the tank and they have to do several coatings at one time. It’s a very structured process. They have to sandblast, primer it … there’s a whole big process that goes into the painting.”
The department is using the services provided by Utility Services Company, based out of North Carolina, according to Pleasant. The first tank on the list of rehab is the Lower Lynn Water Tank that services the East Side community.
Lower Lynn, located in the Mountain Hollow Apartment Complex, pumps roughly 150,000 gallons of a water a day up to Upper Lynn, which provides service to 700 meters in East Side. Lower Lynn is one of five one million gallon sized tanks, along with Paty Hill, Max Jett, Industrial Park and Sabine Hill tanks.
East Side’s tank was selected due to surface rust, Pleasant said. While it is currently not an issue to residents, the coordinator that it was selected due to its current condition and being part of a pilot program within the community. East Side also recently saw various water lines be replaced by another program underway in the department to address water lines.
“The reason we’re only doing the interior of Lower Lynn this year is because this a new program,” he added. “We’re hoping we get to the point of where we can do the inside and outside. But we’ve prioritized everything, looked at the ten tanks, the condition of them and Lower Lynn’s interior is probably in worse shape compared to other ones.”
The maintenance is also nothing out of the ordinary, according to the department. The various reports were to used to comprise the data to address each of the tanks.
“TDEC actually requires us to do regular maintenance,” Pleasant said. “We contract with Doug Carver Engineering. He checks every tank. Every five years, TDEC requires more substantial inspections. Doug actually goes in and dives in all the tanks. It has to be done very specifically due to sanitation reasons. We have inspection reports we keep for TDEC.
“None of our tanks are in bad shape,” he continued. “But it’s one of those things that if you let it go on, we could be in some problem in the coming years. We’re just trying to be proactive. This is one of the benefits we’re trying to give to the community. We want to be proactive and make sure our water storage stays the way it should. You have to have emergency backup storage for water.”
Along with rehab on water tanks and water lines, Water Resources has also created an inflow and infiltration program to address sewer lines in the service area and is currently working on a GIS mapping system to help pinpoint the lines.
“A lot of this stuff is preventative maintenance,” Pleasant said. “For many years, it’s gone neglected. We have a lot of catching up to do and a lot of ground to cover. We’re trying to build a system that will facilitate Elizabethton’s future, basically. The city is going to continue to grow, this area will continue to grow and continue to develop so we need to have the infrastructure in place to keep up with that. If we don’t, one emergency could potentially spell disaster.”
Lower Lynn is contracted for 90 days to be completed but the estimated timeline for completion is around six weeks. Workers were unable to be on site Monday due to the humidity and conditions outside.
“It’s going to be based on budget constraints,” Pleasant said about upcoming tanks. “Our goal is over the ten years to have each of the ten tanks’ insides painted. Then start on the outside. It’s a cycleable process. If we do this in steps, you don’t get in a situation where you have to do five tanks at once. We want to stage it out over that time.”

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