Archive for Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Baldwin towers torn down to make way for new one

July 23, 2003

The Baldwin skyline has a little different look to it.

Two of the town's water towers -- one downtown and one north of Baldwin -- were torn down last week as part of the city's water tower project.

Assistant Utility Director Bill Winegar said a Michigan company began demolishing the downtown water tower last Tuesday evening. It took crews only a day to tear down the tower, which was located behind the power plant. People gathered throughout the day to watch the demolition and take photos as the tower, which was built in 1953, came down piece by piece.

The demolition was just one step of the city's project to build two new 750,000 gallon elevated water towers, one which has already been completed on the northwest edge of town.

Winegar said the 50-year-old, 250,000 gallon water tower was too old and too small to meet the town's current water pressure requirements.

"It's lived its useful life, but the city needed to have more reserve capacity and we needed to get the pressure up in town," he said. "Given the age of the tank and the size of the tank, it was not feasible to do anything with it."

The demolition of the second tower -- the 1 million gallon ground tank at Signal Oak -- began Thursday and was completed by the following day.

Winegar said a second 750,000 gallon elevated tower, which will stand 100 feet tall, will be built in its place beginning the first of August.

He said the ground tank, which was built in 1966, was in need of several repairs.

"Structurally, the roof was very weak," he said. "It was time for a major renovation or replace it, and it was just not economical to repair it."

Even though the ground tank held 1 million gallons of water, he said, it only worked well when it was more than half full.

"The problem with the ground tank is we can't use all of its capabilities," he said. "Pressure is created by elevation. Once the tank got down to half full, the pressure started dropping off."

The new water tower north of Baldwin should be completed by the end of the year, he said.

Once the $1.8 million water tower project is completed, Winegar said water pressure in Baldwin will have increased by 23 pounds per square inch throughout town.

"When the new tower goes online, we won't have the pressure fluctuations or problems we had with the first one," he said. "It's going to be a smooth transition."

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