By Moses Leos III
With one rehabilitation project in the books, Kyle is preparing to begin the second of three necessary improvements to aging water storage tanks across the city.
After completing the Rebel Road GST in September, the city now focuses its attention on the Roland Lane Tower, which is projected to cost the city $150,000.
For Public Works Director Jason Biemer, spending the money to fix any issues now will delay any expensive repairs needed in the future.
“Ultimately, we need to make sure that these towers have many more decades of service to citizens of Kyle,” Biemer said in an emailed response. “[T]his is an investment in maintaining infrastructure rather than rebuilding it when it fails, which would be much more costly.”
On Oct. 21, Kyle City Council approved a $16,200 contract for Neptune-Wilkinson Associates to provide engineering services for the Roland Tank Tower rehabilitation.
It’s the second time the city appointed the engineering firm for tank rehabilitation. The firm engineered repairs for the Rebel Road GST.
“Everything turned out good for [the Rebel Road EST],” Kyle City Engineer Leon Barba said. “We’re confident they are going to provide us a good job on the engineering for [Roland Lane].”
In 2012, an inspection on the city’s storage tank systems found three tanks, Rebel Road GST, Roland Lane Tower and the Well 3 Station, were in dire need of repair.
According to Biemer, the needed repairs depend on each tank’s condition. Basic rehabilitation processes include modernizing safety systems, such as fall protection equipment, labeling of confined spaces and enlarging hatches for access points.
But repainting the tanks is a critical component toward improving the tanks’ longevity. Avoiding rust damage and repairing existing damage is the goal.
“Once rusting starts, it is only a matter of time before metal begins to fail if the problem is not corrected,” Biemer said. “The towers and tanks, which were identified as needing repairs, are at the point where the paint systems have exceeded their design life spans and are at risk of breaking down.”
With the process starting on Roland Lane, the city will soon focus on the Well 3 Station, located on Old Stagecoach Road.
Biemer said a more defined budget for Well 3 is on the horizon.
Originally, the city sought $750,000 in loans from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to pay for cost of rehabbing the tanks.
The city instead opted to use tax notes instead of loans, based on a shorter financing period. Kyle Finance Director Perwez Moheet said the financing tax notes spans seven years, as opposed to 20 years for the loans.
The city issued $1.9 million in tax notes in 2013, $450,000 for tank rehabilitations. On Sept. 3, the city added an additional $300,000 toward the tanks during the budget process.
With the shorter financing option, Moheet said it prevents the city from building up debt. In addition, it allows the city to build a rehabilitation program for the tanks.
“There are tanks that don’t need repairs, but in ten years, they might,” Moheet said. “So we are getting ready for that, without having any tax impacts on our taxpayers.”