Finley Water Tower named APWA Project of the Year

The new water tower in Finley, N.D., was named 2017 Project of the Year by the North Dakota chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA).

Criteria used in the selection process included demonstrating good construction techniques, safety, community relations, protecting the environment, unusual accomplishments and additional conditions deemed important to the public works agency. The Finley water tower won the honor in the category of communities with populations of fewer than 5,000.

The water tower project substantially completed in 2016 replaced a previous structure that was no longer viable for repair, with a leaking bowl, outdated safety mechanisms and equipment and failing electrical components.

The new tower is a single-pedestal 100,000 gallon elevated design, with a main internal piping consisting of an 8-inch riser pipe connecting the tower bowl to the distribution system. It was fitted with an internal building surrounding the base of the tower housing controls for the tank mixer, alarm system, recirculation pump, sampling points and shut-off valve.

The new water tower was constructed with a tank mixer to allow for water movement inside the water tower bowl. Severely cold winter temperatures make elevated water towers susceptible to freezing if the water doesn’t get used fast enough and becomes relatively stationary. The tank mixer ensures that the water keeps moving in the bowl, drastically reducing the likelihood of the tower freezing up.

The single-pedestal design provides for access to the top of the tower on the inside of the vertical piping, as opposed to the external access common to the four-legged pedestal. This internal access provides another way to protect operators from the elements during inspections, improving safety and functionality.

The alarm system included with the new tower provided the city with a notification system to alert the operator of potential issues, such as low water levels, mixer failure and tank overflows. This system makes it easier for the operator to diagnose potential issues prior to finding out about a problem after it is too late to do anything about it. It helps the City of Finley provide a better level of service to its residents.

The coating system for the tower included an Organic Zinc/Aliphatic Urethane/Fluorourethane system. This coating system is designed to provide a longer life expectancy than some of the more traditional coatings. The coating system involved five applications for a total minimum thickness of 13 millimeters.

The new tower displays a shiny new logo on its side, a fresh point of pride for the entire city. The city worked with the school district to allow students the opportunity to present ideas for what the new tower could look like. The city collected ideas and worked with Moore Engineering to come up with the logo and color scheme that is prominently displayed on the tower.

Construction began in the fall of 2015 with foundation work. The foundation was cast-in-place reinforced concrete. The steel tower was fabricated in pieces at the Contractor’s facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The steel was then shipped to the site, welded, and erected in the field in the summer of 2016.

The old tower remained in service through the construction of the new tower. After the new tower was cleaned, tested, filled, and put into service, the old tower was emptied and demolished.

The site was restored and construction was completed in the fall of 2016.