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City’s New Water Tower Opens Up West-Side Development

June 25, 2008

By Marcia Nelesen, The Janesville Gazette, Wis.

Jun. 25–JANESVILLE — Janesville’s newest landmark is all spiffed up and ready to go, probably by July 1.

Pilots of small planes and motorists know now when they pass Janesville if they see the city’s new–and first–water tower with its squiggly-tree logo on the city’s west side.

Residents can get a good look at the tower from:

— Downtown, standing on the Milwaukee Street Bridge near the Hayes Block.

— Interstate 90/39 driving from the south.

— County A around Fulton.

— The new Menards store.

— Driving west on Black Bridge Road.

Jack Messer, the city’s public works director, answered questions about Janesville’s new water tower.

Q: How does a water tower work?

A: It really is very simple. A tower is an elevated water storage tank that uses gravity to supply customers with adequate water flow and pressure. A tank is a more stable way to provide water than relying on pumping alone.

The water is pumped during non-peak electric hours from the city wells into the tank, where it is then stored. Because it is stored, the city can use smaller pumps.

Q: Why is this our first water tower?

A: Janesville actually has two other water reservoirs that perform the same functions as elevated water towers. The tanks are built into hills and look like mounds of dirt.

The first, 9-million-gallon water tank was built in 1928. A second smaller reservoir holds 5 million gallons. Both are located on the west side, one next to the new tower.

Q: Why is a tower needed now?

A: The water tower will allow the city to serve new development on the city’s west side, including the new Hendricks development, and also improve water pressure for some existing residents.

Q: Will we need more water towers in the future?

A: The city will need another reservoir on the east side, possibly within the next five years. Whether it can get by with an underground reservoir or must build another tower depends on the land the city can buy. Officials hope to build somewhere off County A. That reservoir or tower would boost the city’s capabilities on high-usage days and during emergency situations.

Q: How do you get to the top of a tower?

A: A core with a ladder runs through the middle of the sphere.

Q: Why do you want to get to the top?

A: For maintenance, including painting. The city also sells space to cellular companies. The few people who get to the top have a great view of the city.

TOWER FACTS

Cost: The tank cost $889,000, and the pumping station cost $1.2 million for a total of $2.1 million.

Height: 116 feet.

Sphere size: About 74 feet from the ground and 55 feet in diameter.

Capacity: 500,000 gallons.

Pressure: According to the Web site www.howstuffworks.com, each foot of height provides 0.43 pounds per square inch of pressure. The typical municipal water supply runs at between 50 and 100 PSI. Major appliances require at least 20 to 30 PSI.

Color: Off white. The tower has the city’s name and squiggly-tree logo.

Number of city wells: Nine.

Miles of water pipe: 350.

Number of customers: 23,000.

Water pumped by the city each day: An average of 13 million gallons, with 23 million gallon a maximum. It totals about 5 billion gallons a year.

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Copyright (c) 2008, The Janesville Gazette, Wis.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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