Bobtown notes tank's ability to withstand over 26 years of existence with no signs of corrosion or wear and tear
When East Dunkard Water Assn. General Manager Jim Holbert drives by the Aquastore potable water system located in the coal mining community of Bobtown, Pa., he often thinks that the tank looks like it was built just yesterday. However, the Bobtown Aquastore tank was actually built over 26 years ago.
The image to the left shows the 42-ft-by-29-ft Aquastore tank photographed in 1984 when it was built (top) and then photographed again in 2010. Visually, the tank shows no signs of corrosion or wear and tear. The tank has lasted over two-and-a-half decades of summer heat and winter freezes, withstood damage from outside hazards such as trees and has even dodged bullets shot from a nearby hunting ground.
Holbert has no record of the Bobtown Aquastore tank ever being taken out of service for maintenance. The tank has not cost the Bobtown community anything over its service life following its initial purchase, which was obtained through a federal grant.
“The tank still has never had a leak, and looks like it’s in pretty good shape. It looks like it’s only about a year old,” Holbert said.
Holbert estimated having saved a large amount of money as a result of not having to take the tank out of service to be sandblasted, repainted or repaired.
The Bobtown Aquastore tank, which was built by Mid Atlantic Storage Systems, Inc. (MASSI), in 1984 and services the Dunkard Township of Green County, is the largest tank of an eight-tank water system at 286,000 gal. Holbert said, along with supplying drinking water to the 1,600 households as part of the eight-tank system, the tank has a booster pump that supplies water to a 250,000 gal and 35,000 gal tank. Half of the eight tanks are welded steel structures and the other half are glass-fused-to-steel Aquastore tanks.
“Basically, the real deciding factor [to build with MASSI] was maintenance,” Holbert said. “The idea that you don’t have to dismantle or drain the tank and have it refurbished or painted again was the biggest consideration in our decision.
“The Bobtown tank was the first time we worked with MASSI. They did a good job and were very professional, and we had no problems during construction.”
Holbert said the community recently acquired another grant from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority to make more than $6 million in improvements to its water treatment plant and lines. Part of the grant will be used to replace two of the four welded steel tanks with Aquastore tanks. While the last time the welded tanks were shut down for maintenance was in 1983, around the time the Bobtown Aquastore tank was built, the tanks have been patched for leaks and spot painted multiple times in recent years. According to Holbert, those tanks are no longer fit to service the community.
Meanwhile, Holbert said he has no plans to make any changes to the Bobtown Aquastore tank other than to increase the overflow rate to meet current standards.
“I’m pretty satisfied with what we’ve got with the Bobtown tank, and we haven’t had much of any problems with any of our other Aquastore tanks,” Holbert said.