By Linda Collins
Fairborn Daily Herald
ENON — The Village of Enon will soon begin maintenance on the Cardinal Drive water tower, located in the Houck Meadows subdivision in the southeastern part of the village.
The project is tentatively scheduled to begin the first week in December if the temperature remains above 38 degrees, according to Enon Village Administrator Benjamin Ross. The village has contracted Utility Service Group of Tipp City to perform the repair work of the tank at a cost of $2,700. Ross noted that the funding for the project was budgeted from the village’s Water Department Capital Improvement Fund.
“Through networking with other water departments and engineers, the village was able to get contact information for the Utility Service Group. A meeting was scheduled, and the village decided to take the first step using this company which will be the inspection and cleaning of the Cardinal Drive tank,” Ross said.
The water storage tower will be taken offline during the project. However, Ross said village residents should not experience a significant difference in their water pressure during the process. The work crew will drain all the water from the tank and visually inspect the interior surfaces of the tank, surveying for cracks, holes and areas of potential failure.
The work crew will also take a paint sample from the interior of the tank that will be tested for density and paint type. The work crew will also thoroughly clean and disinfect the tank using a chlorination process. Once the tank is filled again, a bacteria sample will be taken to assure the water is safe to drink before placing the tank back in service. Ross estimates that the inspection and cleaning of the tank will take approximately three to five days.
“It’s important to determine what paint type the existing coating of paint is so we will know what type of paint to use when the village applies additional coats of paint in the future,” Ross explained. “Also, the water tower will not returned to service until the results of the bacteria test come back negative, indicating no contamination within the tank.”
According to Enon Mayor Tim Howard, the Cardinal Drive water storage tank was constructed in the spring of 1995, and the tank was placed into service in early 1996.
“The tank has a capacity of 400,000 gallons when it is full. I believe the last maintenance on the tank was done in 2012,” Howard said.
Village officials are also making plans to move forward with the inspection and cleaning of the interior of the Main Street water storage tower and begin the process of painting both the inside and outside of the tank. Ross said this project would likely take place in the spring of 2017.
Village officials are anticipating that these projects will improve the efficiency of the water tanks and minimize the future cost of maintenance.
“Our goal is to develop a preventative maintenance plan for our water towers. We are making tentative arrangements to paint the interior of the Cardinal Drive water tank in the spring of 2017 as well,” said Ross. “The plan will be reviewed and updated by the village staff prior to approval.”
The village is also moving forward with replacing existing, individually-read water meters with radio-read water meters. Ross noted that village employees have installed 894 meters to date, leaving approximately 436 meters left to be installed. Based on staffing and the weather, the village’s plan is to complete the installation process by spring 2017.
Ross said the automated meter reading (AMR) technology allows village employees to read the water meters remotely using a mobile collection device located in a village vehicle that is equipped with a specialized antenna. This data is then downloaded from the collection device to receiving software in the Enon Government Center.
Prior to the AMR technology, three village employees would read the meters by hand in the course of a 40-hour workweek. Once the installation project is completed, all 1,330 meters will be read remotely in about 4 hours and thus, allowing the employees to work on other projects, Ross noted.
Village officials are anticipating that the AMR technology will also improve the accuracy in the billing process by ending the practice of estimated water bills. Meters will be read on a monthly basis, instead of three times per year.
In July 2013, the village was awarded a $198,710.60 loan through the Ohio Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Supply Revolving Loan Account to purchase all the meters, attached encoders and six portable leak detection devices.
The 10-year loan, at a low interest rate of 2.17 percent, will save the village an estimated $25,000 over the life of the loan when compared to 2013 market-rate loans of 4.42 percent, according to an Ohio EPA press release. The village is also saving on contracted labor costs by using water department employees to install the meters.
“We prefer installing it. We know the system better than anyone else,” said Howard.
Linda Collins is a freelance reporter for Greene County News.