DVWD's 4M gallon tank

by: GARY DINKEL - The new 4 million gallon tank is shown during construction in this aerial view. The main tanks are located southwest of Culver.A new water tank — the largest in the Deschutes Valley Water District's system — is now online and serving the district's customers.

The 4 million gallon tank neatly joins three smaller tanks at the main site, southwest of Culver, on the plain above Opal Springs. By itself, the tank represents nearly one-quarter of the district's total storage capacity of 16,171,000 gallons, and should accommodate the district's needs for at least the next decade, according to Ed Pugh, general manager of DVWD.

"The new tank makes pumping operations easier for the crew at Opal Springs. The tanks operate in unison and don't go up and down as fast with the extra capacity," said Pugh.

"The additional storage is good for emergency reserves, such as fireflows or catastrophic disruptions in our infrastructure or pumping," he explained.

The 40-foot steel tank was constructed by winning bidder T. Bailey Inc., of Anacortes, Wash., for $1,395,068. "They built our 3 million gallon Metolius tank in 2007, so we knew they were a good company to work with," he said.

As part of their 20-year master plan, the district began preparing for the project in 2011. "I got started with land-use planning and discussions with the landowner about two years ago," said Pugh, noting that Vern and Karen Bare donated the land for the water tank site.

To keep costs down, the DVWD crew, with Kurt Schonneker as foreman, did the extensive preparation. "They installed about 3,000 feet of 24-inch pipe, so it could be tied into the mainline we constructed a few years ago," said Pugh.

The crew also leveled the ground for the tank with about 6,000 cubic yards of backfill, and then installed the piping and fittings under the tank.

Pugh, who serves as the district's engineer, as well as manager, put together the bid documents for the welded steel tank, which has a 130-foot diameter concrete ringwall and foundation.

The tank was the second the district has had built in the past two years. In 2012, the district added a second 110,000 gallon tank at Round Butte. The district also has three tanks at Metolius with a total 5.5 million gallon capacity; a 1 million gallon tank on the plains; a 500,000 gallon tank at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution; a 150,000 gallon tank on Juniper Butte; a 201,000 gallon tank at the KOA; and a 100,000 gallon tank at Gateway.

The tanks serve the district's 4,000 customers, who live in Madras, Culver and Metolius, as well as the surrounding areas — a 12-mile-wide swath of land that extends 23.5 miles.

Next on the district's agenda? "Within two years, I'd like to add another 100,000 gallon tank to our existing Juniper Butte tank, and install a 24-inch pipeline (a mile long) between the main tanks and Opal Springs," said Pugh, who hopes to obtain federal permits and district funding for the projects.

With the slowdown in housing construction since the recession, there is less urgency. "New service growth for the district has been slow the last couple of years," he said, noting that there were only 30 new services added over the past two years — 15 each in 2012 and 2013.

"We shouldn't need any large tanks for at least 10 years, depending on growth," said Pugh.

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