The village of Lake Hallie, Wis., is served by a CST Aquastore tank that is older than the town itself. Lake Hallie was incorporated in 2003, 11 years after the tank was built.
The 24-year-old tank had performed so well that the village had not given it much thought until it commissioned the construction of a new tank to accommodate the area’s growth.
“The water department told us the existing Aquastore had received little or no maintenance since it was built,” said Bill Barr, co-owner of Great Plains Structures, the authorized Aquastore dealer in the Upper Midwest and Near West. “We inspected the tank and the worst thing we saw was a combination of moss and mildew on the exterior finish.”
The village’s original tank sits on a hill in a wooded area. Corrosion was a concern, but the tank held up to the harsh conditions of a northern climate.
“We started by cleaning a small section and within minutes you could see the original finish,” said Jason Sixberry, co-owner of Great Plains Structures.
Crews gave the tank a makeover, resealing the edges, power washing the moss and mildew, and applying a solvent to remove graffiti and the paint the owner had applied years ago to cover it. The porcelain enamel shine was fully restored at a minimal cost.
The Aquastore’s multi-step fabrication process includes:
- A panel of high-strength, low-carbon steel is blasted and alkaline cleaned.
- The edges of the panel are beveled and sprayed with a stainless steel alloy.
- The panel is sprayed with a porcelain slurry that gives it durability, consistency and impermeability. The slurry is inorganic, so it blocks corrosion.
- The panel then is fired at temperatures of more than 1,500°F to fuse the porcelain coating and the steel.
- Tests are conducted to verify integrity and durability, including high-voltage testing to detect discontinuities.
Corrosion can spread beneath the surface of painted or powder-coated metals, while the porcelain slurry of an Aquastore tank, by its nature, resists corrosion. The tank is available in a range of colors by mixing pigments into the slurry that is sprayed and fired onto the steel panel.
“Refined metals and concrete are especially vulnerable to the elements,” Barr said. “Corrosion can impact the life of a tank, so a tank’s susceptibility to rust is one of the first things to consider.”
“The Aquastore taught us an important lesson about downtime and expense,” said village trustee Gary Spilde. “We’ve had zero downtime, not a single day, with that 24-year-old tank, and the impact of something like that on our budget is considerable.”