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North Neighborhoods
$2 million water-tank replacement project proposed in Shaler

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

By Maria Carpico, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Shaler is looking at an estimate of more than $2 million to replace four water tanks to stabilize its water system.

And "clearly we're going to have to replace the two of those tanks immediately," Manager Tim Rogers said.

The recommendations came from Wilkinsburg-based Resource Development & Management Inc., hired to do a feasibility study.

Company representatives Christopher Kerr and Michael Kenny detailed the needed upgrades for the township commissioners July 8.

Shaler has six tanks: two 400,000-gallon tanks, a 1.2 million-gallon tank and a 1.5 million-gallon tank, all on Eade Avenue; a 200,000-gallon tank on Anderson Road; and a 100,000-gallon tank in the Sharps Hill neighborhood.

Kerr and Kenny said the two 400,000-gallon tanks at Eade should be replaced, either by two tanks holding 1 million gallons each or by one tank holding 2 million. "It's a matter of economics on which would be cheaper to build," Kerr said.

The 1.2 million-gallon tank built in 1957 and the 1.5 million-gallon one built a decade later would remain on Eade.

The most crucial need, though, is to replace the existing Sharps Hill and Anderson tanks, also built in 1957, with million-gallon tanks.

The hope is that the increased tank size will stabilize system flow, relieve demands on the supply and reserve enough water for contingency purposes. "The contingency supply should be 95 percent of the storage," Kerr said.

Another question is whether to build welded steel tanks or fused fiberglass ones. Fiberglass is more expensive, but the tanks can be built more quickly and are cheaper to maintain.

And the pedestal-style tanks would be abandoned for a silo-type look. Rogers said water would be stored from the ground up.

Kerr and Kenny also offered another option: a partnership with the City of Pittsburgh and the use of the city's Lampher Reservoir. The reservoir, located in Shaler, has approximately 120 million gallons in excess capacity.

That would address capacity issues, but Shaler would still need to improve its water tanks, Rogers said.

Commissioner William Cross expressed concern for the city's water standards; the reservoir stores water taken from the Allegheny River.

"We far exceed the standards for water quality," said Cross. Kerr noted that residents would notice a difference in taste between the two.

The reservoir's location is also problematic because Shaler's treatment plant is at the opposite end of the system.

The township also uses a tank on Mary Ann Drive in Hampton and two on James Street in Etna, which supply portions of those municipalities along with Shaler residents and part of O'Hara.

One possible upgrade to them would be increasing the feed into the Mary Ann tank, Kenny said.

"When Hampton pumps hard, it draws down the Shaler pressure," he said. "This storage would alleviate the fluctuation in pressure."

Rogers plans to make a recommendation for the commissioners but does not anticipate presenting anything before October.

Maria Carpico can be reached at mcarpico@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1183.

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