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Water tower no longer holds water
There is no longer water in the water tower on Wetmore Street. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO/The Bulletin
Manteca is avoiding over $520,000 in costs while upgrading the city’s water system.
It is being done with a combination of putting projects out to bid in an extremely competitive climate for construction work as well as thinking a bit out of the box.
The most high-profile cost savings is Manteca’s water tower on Wetmore Street.
State law required the city to determine whether it was safe to withstand a major earthquake.
Several years ago the City Council commissioned an $8,060 study to find out.
Showerman, Hawn & Stone structural engineers conducted the seismic safety analysis of the tower to comply with state law.
The 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake that damaged the Bay Bridge caused cracks in a number of housing foundations, patios and swimming pools in Manteca.
Since they found structural issues then it had be retrofitted to withstand an earthquake. Manteca municipal staff, though, figured the $500,000 estimate for such work was too high so they opted to empty the water tower instead.
The tower was key to maintaining water pressure throughout much of central Manteca.
They opted to keep the elevated water tank in place to save $150,000. The city decided to skip the seismic retrofit that would have cost in excess of $500,000 to continue using the tank especially since water tanks put in place in connection with the surface water treatment plant have helped improve water pressure as has replacement lines.
It would cost $75,000 to tear the tower down and $75,000 to replace it with a tower for communication antenna vital for emergency services and city crews. So the city simply emptied the tank and kept it in place.
Two water line projects – one to improve water pressure in part of Central Manteca and the other to set the stage for growth in West Manteca – have had contracts awarded.
Neither project will impact the general fund as the replacement lines are being paid for through water fees for current users while the new line is being covered by growth fees. The money being used is restricted for the purpose that it is being spent for and cannot be used under state law to help balance the general fund that is facing a potential $11.3 million deficit in the fiscal year starting July 1.
The Lincoln Avenue water main project will cost $318,170. The bid by Rolfe Construction was $207,000 under the engineer’s estimate. It involves replacing several smaller, inadequately sized lines with 3,850 feet of pipe for a 12-inch water main, modifying four fire hydrant plugs, and modifying 61 water connections.
The water line work is in Lincoln Avenue from North Street to Alameda Street, Alameda Street from Lincoln Avenue to Dawn Drive, and in Dawn Drive from Alameda Street to Edison Street.
“The distribution system conveys water from the sources to the customers, and must provide capacity to meet all domestic, industrial, irrigation, and fire suppression demands,” senior civil engineer Fernando Ulloa wrote in a memo to the council. “These smaller diameter pipes in the older sections of the city cannot adequately meet these demands and need to be replaced with properly sized pipes.”
It is the latest in a multi-year plan of replacing problematic water lines throughout the city.
It will cost $184,495 to have D.A. Wood Construction install a 12-inch water main, fire hydrants and 20 service lines along 2,590 feet from Yosemite Avenue to Crom Street along Airport Way. The engineer’s estimate was $350,000.
There are a series of residential, business parks and retail projects envisioned along the corridor.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail