Tank Solution Post-California Fire

Dec. 11, 2019

This case study originally appeared in Water & Wastes Digest December 2019 issue as "Tanks Provide Quick Installation & Long-Term Solution After Devastating California Fire"

About the author:

ZCL | Xerxes, www.zcl.com, 800.661.8265

When a natural disaster hits, two factors can define the pace of recovery: speed of response and teamwork. ZCL | Xerxes recently provided both at a critical moment in the rebuilding of a California community destroyed by one of the most devastating fires in US history.

In November 2018, the Camp Fire caused 86 deaths, destroyed nearly 19,000 structures and resulted in more than $16 billion in damage. Almost immediately, federal and state emergency agencies awarded contracts for fire-zone demolition and debris removal. 

Because of the severe damage over such a large area, base camps were needed to house and support the government and private-contract workers brought in for the cleanup work. Water and power already were in place at the site chosen for the base camp at Paradise, Calif. However, there was no septic system for the 1,500 workers and 300 trailers at the base camp. 

ECC Constructors LLC, the main contractor for the camp, chose NexGen Septics LLC to provide the wastewater system. Normally, NexGen’s CEO and Founder Lance Bates would have provided precast concrete tanks. However, there was no time to construct the large precast tanks required. Instead, Bates chose fiberglass tanks.

“We needed a total storage capacity of 160,000 gal and a daily effluent of 100,000 gal a day, and we had 45 days to get the project done,” Bates said. “With ZCL | Xerxes, from start to finish, it took just 23 days to get the tanks to the site.” 

The four 40,000-gal, corrosion-resistant fiberglass tanks came from the ZCL | Xerxes California plant ready to install. Once they were on the site, the tanks were quickly operational, complete with Presby Environmental’s treatment system by NexGen Septics. 

Bates points to the space-saving feature of the tanks as well as both short-term and long-term cost savings as critical functions. 

“It takes longer to install concrete tanks, which is more expensive, and they break down over time,” Bates said. “You have to factor in the cost of fixing or replacing them when that happens.” 

Once the Paradise cleanup process is completed and the base camp is removed in late summer 2020, the tanks will provide the wastewater system for 400 homes planned for the site. On the same property, owned by Bates and his partners in Tuscan Ridge Associates LLC, will be another 400 to 800 homes, also served by fiberglass wastewater tanks. Bates said the ZCL | Xerxes team was excellent to work with.

“They were straightforward about the requirements and the cost and throughout the process, they were quick to respond anytime we had questions,” Bates said. He and his development partners plan on using ZCL | Xerxes tanks for even larger projects. Installation highlights include:

• Four 40,000-gal, single-wall fiberglass tanks (10-ft-diameter);

• Fast turnaround time (23 days from order to installation);

• Durable, lightweight fiberglass that is easy to ship and quick to install.