Sunday, March 03, 2024
21.0°F

Air time

by HANNAH NEFF
Staff Writer | March 17, 2022 1:06 AM

HAYDEN — Drivers on U.S. 95 can’t miss the oval spaceship-shaped tank perched on top of the tower on Lacey Avenue.

The 140-ton steel tank was hoisted off the ground by 39 six-ton cable jacks, lifted 7 inches at a time to about 120 feet. The process started at 6:30 a.m. last Friday and was finished by noon.

“It took them three days to set up for it,” said Branden Rose, Hayden Lake Irrigation District administrator.

If all goes according to schedule, the tank will be ready for use by the first week of August. It holds 2 million gallons of water, over 26 times larger than the current water tank, which held 75,000 gallons.

“That storage should get us out for buildout for 20 years,” Rose said.

He said the new water tower, 161 feet tall at the top when completed, should serve 14,000 patrons.

The district now has 3,600 connections at approximately 2.5 people per household, or about 9,000 patrons.

The district has been operating since 1957 off the 75,000-gallon reservoir, pumping water from Hayden Lake.

In the 1980s, the district was informed it had to stop pumping water from the lake and started using the Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer. It drilled three wells and added an additional well in 2004 as the district developed. From 2017-19, it added two more well sites.

Rose said currently, if the largest well pump fails during peak irrigation, they have 15 minutes of reserve water and would have to put everyone on emergency watering.

Winter demand right now is 700,000 gallons a day. In summer, the daily demand is over 9 million gallons.

Rose said with the last three projects totaling $2.5 million, the district board could not keep adding wells to keep up with demand.

“This (new tank) will give our staff the ability to, if we lose a pump or lose our largest pump, we won’t have to limp along,” Rose said. “We will be able to continue to service the district with reliable water every time they turn on the faucet.”

Rose said in addition to residential homes, they also serve three schools, two apartment complexes, a hospice care and five retirement homes. He said if they’re doing their job right, these people should never have to worry about being without water.

“That’s why it’s so critical,” Rose said. “It’s not because of growth. It’s because of doing good business.”

Rose said the new water tank will also get patrons through the summer without having to follow the every-other-day watering schedule they've followed since 2015. However, Rose said every-other-day watering is better for the grass because it causes the roots to grow deeper.

There will also be 500,000 gallons reserved for fire flow.

The work is about 75% completed, he said.

The tank had to be in the air for builders to put the top on, which will be welded into place along with the intake and discharge line. Rose said that should be finished around the last week of April.

Painters will come to sandblast, prime and coat the interior and exterior the last week of April through the third week in July.

While the tank should be ready for use the first week of August, there will still be some work to the exterior ground such as landscaping, fencing, and putting in pavement. Those jobs will continue through November.

The project was projected to cost about $8.8 million. A $6.8 million bond to help with finance was approved by Hayden voters in September 2019.

However, Rose said the cost for landscaping was removed from the bond coverage because the sub-contractor could not commit to the original bid.

Rose said the district will only be financing about $6.3 million from the bond with a 20-year return, and will use district staff to landscape the area.

He said the project cost could reach $10 million at completion time, including permits. Rose said to put in a 2 million gallon reservoir today, even without the added costs of permits, could cost upward of $10 million with the increased price of steel, concrete and rebar, so the contract was locked in at a good time.

Talk about putting in a new tank has circulated for over two decades, and Rose said it’s taken them 23 years to get the tank in and approved by the Federal Aviation Administration because of its proximity to the Coeur d’Alene Airport.

Rose said if they had put a 1 million gallon reservoir in back in 2000, it would have cost $1.2 - $1.3 million.

“Quite a bit of inflation,” Rose said.

However, Rose said they’re under budget with the engineering and tank.

“That’s a good thing,” Rose said. “Not everybody hears that.”

photo

This photo shows the inside of the new water tower on U.S. 95 and Lacey Avenue, part of the Hayden Lake Irrigation District. HANNAH NEFF/Press

photo

This photo shows the inside of the new water tower on U.S. 95 and Lacey Avenue, part of the Hayden Lake Irrigation District. HANNAH NEFF/Press