PIQUA — Much as Shawnee legend has it that the City of Piqua originated from “He who arose from the ashes,” a new water tower is set to rise over the south side of the city, to preside as a 21st century landmark, welcoming visitors and providing for the citizens of Piqua.
Construction recently began on the new tower, which will be located at 316 Fox Drive. Property for the tower was donated by Paul Sherry, as well as easements necessary to get water lines to the tower.
Piqua Water Plant Superintendent Don Freisthler said there are several reasons for building the new tower. “This end of town does not have real strong fire flows in the water system. This will take our fire flows from around 2000 gallons a minute up to 5000 gallons a minute in the industrial park area here,” said Freisthler. “There was also a large loop needed to make our system work the best. Part of this project is to incorporate a loop of 12-inch water main coming down Drake Road from Hemm Road across Mr. Sherry’s property and back to Fox Drive, completing the loop. That makes the fire flow capable of happening.”
Nearly all of the water line is already in place. Approximately 1,300 feet of line is yet to be installed. Freisthler said the remaining line will be directionally bored through a wooded area “in order to preserve as much of the trees as we can.”
The new tower will hold 1 million gallons of water. The height is determined by the minimum height necessary to maintain 78 p.s.i., which Freisthler said will be around 160 feet above the ground.
The new Fox Drive tower will also serve as a replacement for two existing towers. “Both the tower at the old power plant, the South Main tower, and on the north end of 25-A, the Spring Street tower, will be demolished,” said Freisthler, “They are just very small tanks and they sit about 28 feet too low to function properly.”
“This (new) tower will actually allow us to have the central pressure zone with plenty of fire flow and pressure to furnish good quality water in this end of town,” said Freisthler.
The Fox Drive tower is slated for completion before year’s end 2017. It will be a “concrete-pedestaled tower” with a steel bowl on top of it, which is known as a composite tank. The concrete pedestal will help to reduce maintenance costs as the only part needing to be periodically painted will be the top steel portion.
Freisthler said that the bid price for the new tower was $2.9 million dollars with the water line portion coming in at $645,000. An Ohio Public Works Commission grant was utilized to offset $1,000,075 dollars of the cost.
The life expectancy of the new tower is estimated to be in excess of 80 to 90 years. Both the Spring Street and South Main Street towers were built in 1951.