Jun 11, 2010

EPA Stimulus Funds Address Water Storage Need for Louisiana Town

Aquastore groundwater storage tank replaces deteriorating 24-year-old welded steel tank

It was a combination of good timing and a sense of urgency for the Calcasieu Parish Waterworks #8 to obtain the funds to replace their deteriorating 24-year-old welded steel tank with a new 45 ft x 33 ft, 385,000-gal Aquastore groundwater storage tank.

The tank replacement project was the first stimulus-funded project for EPA Region 6, which covers the states of Louisiana, Arkansas, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma.

The potable water system for the Calcasieu Parish Waterworks #8 consists of three tanks--a concrete ground water storage tank, a composite elevated tank and the new Aquastore. According to Mitch Hoffpauir, owner of the Calcasieu Parish Waterworks #8, being the first municipality approved for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stimulus funds in their region happened by pure chance.

“We were applying for a loan through the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHA) for $850,000 to replace that welded steel tank,” Hoffpauir said. “At the time the board of the directors decided to proceed with the loan from the DHA, it just so happened that the EPA stimulus money came into effect. We were the first people on board to qualify for the stimulus.”

The existing tank, according to Hoffpauir, was in bad condition and would cost the organization hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair. Despite taking the tank out of service every two years for inspection and repairs, which included a costly sandblasting and repainting process after 10 years in operation, Hoffpauir and the Calcasieu Parish Waterworks board of the directors decided the tank was no longer safe for the 2,280 customers in their service area.

“The tank walls were rusted, the liner on the inside was coming apart and the roof and climbing accessories were rusted,” Hoffpauir said. “The cost it would take to repair the tank and get it back to OSHA standards would cost just as much for us to replace the tank with a new one.”

While attending a water conference in Alexandria, La., Hoffpauir met Marc Nichols of Southeastern Tank Inc., an authorized Aquastore dealer. Although he was unfamiliar with Aquastore glass-fused-to-steel tanks prior to the conference, Hoffpauir felt that the technology would be the best choice for their operation.

“It really was good timing that Mitch and his organization were able to obtain the stimulus money for a new tank when they did,” Nichols said. “That welded groundwater tank was in very bad shape, and it’s great that the EPA took notice and provided the organization with the funds they needed to improve their water system…I hope we can work with Mitch and the Lake Charles area again in the future.”

After a bidding process to replace the welded tank, which included Southeastern Tank and another welded steel tank company, Aquastore was selected for the project.

“We have probably saved ourselves at least $100,000 right off the bat by building with Aquastore,” Hoffpauir said. “We expect that this new Aquastore should save our community the costs that our old welded tank had over its service life.”

Hoffpauir said the organization has plans to replace its manual backwash system with an automated one, which will also be covered by the EPA stimulus funds.