City’s water tower project completed under budget
Baldwin now has more water storage capacity, higher water pressure and two new water towers, and it all cost less than what the city had anticipated.
Utility Director Terry McKinney said the water tower on the north edge of Baldwin was put in service for the first time two weeks ago, which means both water towers are operating and the city's project is nearly complete.
"I imagine it will all be done in the next month," McKinney said.
Baldwin demolished its 50-year-old water tower and 30-year-old ground tank last summer so the city could build two new 750,000-gallon elevated water towers.
When the city began work on the project last year, the estimated cost for the new water towers was around $2.35 million. Now that it's nearly complete, he said, the project will actually cost around $1.82 million.
"It's considerably less than what was estimated," he said. "We got good bids."
He said $100,000 was also taken out of the city's water reserves to help lower the debt.
McKinney said the decision to build two new water towers was based on the age of the old towers and their state of disrepair. But the city's decision was based on another reason as well.
"The big reason to put the new water towers in was to raise pressure," McKinney said.
Water pressure in town shot up at 23 pounds per square inch for each business and residence once the new towers were on line.
"Everybody benefited from it," he said.
Water storage capacity also increased to 1.5 million gallons with the new towers. Previously, the city only had 950,000-gallon storage capacity.
The additional storage capacity, McKinney said, is needed for hot days during the summer, in case the water line in the Baker Wetlands gets a leak or one tower needed to be taken out of service for inspections or repairs.
"By putting in the new towers, we're able to cover the growth of the city and still have storage capacity," he said.
McKinney said he was pleased with how the project developed, especially since the original completion date was set for May 2004, a few months later than when the project will be finished.
"It all just went real good," he said.