Thankfully, tank failure is not imminent, giving us a little time to plan. Our current water tank infrastructure presents us with two major issues: 1) the existing tanks are of inadequate height to serve the Town’s current and future water needs; and 2) the tanks are very old and nearing the end of their useful lives. The greatest water supply risk facing the Town is due to the inadequacy of the height of the tanks, which nearly ran dry during the drought of 2016. The Town was extremely lucky to avoid a catastrophic water failure in 2016, but counting on luck is no way to run a water system.
All of our water tanks are old; on average, nearly 80 years old. Since we know that we will need to replace them soon anyway, we want to be prudent and take future needs into account in designing new tanks. We continue to maintain Paines Hill Tank, our most vulnerable tank, but we have reached the point where replacement makes more sense than expensive repairs. Paines Hill, which is a concrete tank, is of an old, outdated design and cannot be repaired to provide any meaningful service life: it is at the end of its serviceable life. Even if this tank were repaired, it would require constant ongoing repairs because of the continuous deterioration that will occur. Repairs on this tank will become increasingly expensive and will provide diminishing returns. Paines Hill Tank is our largest tank; it is the lead tank of the entire water system. The failure of this tank would be catastrophic. The bottom line is that it is time to replace the Paines Hill tank.
Regarding the other two tanks, Cat Rock and Doublet Hill, we could maintain those tanks for a few more years. Generally, painting a tank can give it an additional 10-20 years depending on the quality of the application and environmental conditions. However, as noted above, repairing the tanks without making them higher does not address the Town’s critical need for active storage capacity.