July 14, 2005

Water Tower Work Could Mean Low Water Pressure

For the first time since it was installed back in 1982, the Memphis City Water Tower will be drained for inspection. Water superintendent Dennis Howard told the City Council at the July 7 meeting that Utility Services would be in town July 20th-22nd to perform the mandated review.

“We’ve never done this before so we are not 100-percent sure of what to expect,” Howard told the council. “We don’t know exactly how long it is going to take to bring the water level down, do the inspection and fill the tower back up.”

He warned of the possibility of low flow and low pressure during the three days as the water tower must be drained. To offset the loss of pressure on the water lines normally generated by the tower, Howard said the city will be pumping virtually non-stop during the three days in an effort to insure pressure and availability for all customers.

Organizers anticipate it will take roughly the entire day on July 20th to drain the water tower.

The city crews will open the valves and begin draining the 119-foot water level down to about 10-feet in height. Howard stated the water pressure will drop about 1 PSI per foot. When the level reaches 10-feet, the tower will be valved off and the water plant will start pumping to try to maintain water pressure for the community.

“Utility Service told me that they went into a town earlier this summer and did the same service and the customers didn’t even know they were there,” Howard said. “So there is no guarantee that we will experience drop off in water pressure, but we want to warn customers of the possibility.”

Howard stated the goal is to have the tower ready for inspection first thing on July 21st. He indicated the process could take as little as four hours and hoped to begin pumping to refill the tower that afternoon. Following the inspection on July 21, the plant will continue to pump as quickly as possible to refill the 250,000 gallon tower.

Howard noted that citizens may notice water blowing out of city hydrants in an effort to relieve excess pressure that may be created by the plant running at higher rates to meet demands and offset the pressure lost from the tower outage. He stated this will be a controlled situation and residents need not be concerned.

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