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Proactive Effort Leads to New Water Tower & Distribution System

For many decades, Stuart Municipal Utilities (SMU) operated its city wells, a water treatment plant, two ground-level water storage tanks, and a distribution system to provide water to the citizens of Stuart. Instead of replacing aging components of their network, however, city leaders signed an agreement with Xenia Rural Water District in early 2000 to start purchasing their treated water for distribution.

Without needing to source or treat their drinking water, proper storage, and secure distribution systems became the community’s primary concern. To provide long-term solutions for storage and distribution, city leaders contacted Snyder & Associates to help with two improvement projects: planning and designing a new elevated storage tank and replacing aging water mains in several areas of town.

water tower bowl during construction

The capacity of this new water tower will allow the community of Stuart to grow successfully.

Replacing Ground Storage with a Modern Elevated Solution water tower

SMU had two aging ground-level storage tanks (clear wells) with a capacity of 125,000 gallons each and a single water tower with a capacity of 150,000 gallons. These ground storage tanks were used to reserve water for emergency use while the tower was connected to the supply line from Xenia.

Through preliminary studies and conversations with the city, it was determined that SMU needed updated storage to meet current demand and provide adequate fire protection. The two ground storage tanks had long outlived their lifespan, making rehabilitation an expensive alternative. When options were considered to rebuild ground storage or switch to elevated storage, our team’s recommendation that elevated storage provides a better link to the Xenia Rural Water District ultimately swayed the city’s decision.

The SMU Board selected a 250,000-gallon pedestal-supported storage tank to serve their community. This style tank has multiple advantages, including increased safety due to access ladders being located inside the structure instead of outside, better access to tank piping, a small, enclosed space at the base of the structure that can be used to house electrical equipment and controls, and overall increased security. This new water tower will help bring the community’s water system up to modern standards and combine the capacity of both ground storage tanks into one.

Water Main Replacements Improve Distribution Network

In addition to new storage, it was important for the city to replace portions of the distribution system that had aged past acceptable lifespan or no longer met current regulations regarding proximity to Leaking Underground Storage Tanks, otherwise known as LUST sites. Approximately thirty percent of the existing system fell into the replacement category.

The replacement mains were designed to fall in a sequence of phased construction segments, minimizing disruptions to the system and residents. The replacement water main is installed adjacent to the old one for each segment. Once properly functioning, individual water services would be reconnected to the new water main, leaving the aging infrastructure abandoned. These upgrades are set to improve the system’s overall reliability and provide a more uniform flow across the community.

Funding Assistance Drives Project Success

During project planning discussions, the city had inadequate reserves to finance the improvement projects without support. Our team worked to prepare project work plans in conjunction with community improvement programs to increase opportunities for funding assistance. After assisting with multiple applications, the city was awarded a nearly $7,000,000 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan and a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to complete the expansive project.

By helping to secure funding that completely covered project costs, the Snyder & Associates team led the City of Stuart and the SMU Board to a viable solution that will offer residents and businesses a secure water system for years to come.