By Travis Gulbrandson
Vermillion’s new water tower is up, but it won’t be running until August at the latest.
The tower was erected Monday, following the arrival Friday, Dec. 27, of the crane that was used to put it together. On Tuesday morning, workers were preparing to put the top portion of the tower in place.
Water department superintendent Randy Isaacson said the tower was put up in approximately 6-7 hours by Maguire Iron, Inc., of Sioux Falls, which also built the individual parts of the tower.
“They set the first piece on the column, or the standpipe, and then they do what they call tack welding,” Isaacson said. “There will be about three to four two-foot-long welds. They complete that, and then they put the next part up, which is the bottom of the bowl.”
Additional tack welds were then made, after which point the top of the tower was added.
“That just sits on there,” Isaacson said. “They have a wedging clamp system that they use to hold the pieces together before they weld, and that’s how the top part is held on until they get to weld it.”
Once all the pieces were put together, the crane was disassembled.
“That’s about a one-day process,” Isaacson said.
City crews will then finish the welding job until the tower is completed, although it won’t be painted until the spring or summer.
“There’s welding to do on the inside also, and then they’ll have to coat the inside, paint it,” Isaacson said during a meeting last month. “That’s going to be a process. There are some control things to do, and wiring things. There’s going to be lighting all the way up and down the column on the inside for climbing purposes. It’s more mechanical-type stuff.”
The tower won’t be in use until the coating is cured, after which point the paint will have to be tested for discontinuities.
The new tower will be up and in service before anything is done with the old one, Isaacson said.
“When that’s going to be, I don’t know,” he said last month. “If they can get in there this spring and get the coating system done and all the wiring and controls are put in place and we get it in service, I think then we’ll start the process maybe next fall or spring.
“We don’t have a schedule yet for the old tank,” he said.
The crane used for putting the tower together was 150 feet tall, a size so large that six semis were used in bringing its components to town.
“They pulled everything in (Friday) to where the tower is going to be,” Isaacson said Monday. “They used Shriner Street. We did a road closure on Shriner from the Wal-Mart parking lot over to Cottage, so that was kind of their work area. Traffic was no problem.”
The project’s deadline for completion is Aug. 14, 2014.