Tonawanda News

September 13, 2012

Town to demolish landmark water tank

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — The iconic and ultra-visible town water tank near I-290 will soon be demolished, town officials said.

“The tank is not salvageable,” Director of Water Resources Ken Maving said.

The tank was originally built around 1960 and has been a town landmark to many since then. 

“It’s a tower that everyone identifies with the town because it’s so visible from the Youngmann,” Emminger said. “It was one of three water towers, and now we will be down to two.”

Despite the structure’s visibility, the 4-million gallon tank hasn’t been used since 1996 due to its condition. 

“Many didn’t know it wasn’t being used,” Emminger said. “But it’s decayed and rusted through.”  

Maving said the cost of rehabilitating the structure would be $1.8 million, which far exceeds the town’s bond authority for the project. Tearing it down will likely only cost about $100,000.

Erie County is currently taking another tower down in Cheektowaga, and that estimate served as a ballpark range as to what the town’s demolishment will cost. 

The town board voted to approve GHD Consulting Engineers, LLC to do the engineering work for the job at a fee of $29,900 at the board’s regular meeting Tuesday evening. GHD’s work will start the process for the project. 

A concrete timeline will likely not be set until the engineering work is done. Then, requests for proposals for the deconstruction will be sent out for a contractor.

“It should improve the area for the residents over there,” Emminger said. 

But some who live near the tank are concerned about massive construction going on in their backyards.

“I’m scared to death because of the mess it’s going to create,” said Amelia Bursztyn, of Koenig Road. Her home backs up to the tower.

Bursztyn has lived in her house for 20 years and said she’s never had a problem with the structure being there.

“I actually enjoyed having that space and the grounds have always been taken care of wonderfully,” Bursztyn said. “It sets us to wondering what will happen to that area and what they are going to do with it.” 

The town also approved O’Brien & Gere Engineers Inc., to complete engineering work for the demolishment of the sludge incinerators at the Wastewater Treatment Facility at a cost of $578,100. 

“This is a result of unfunded mandates for the incineration process,” Emminger said. “We will be hauling our sludge to another   incinerator.” 

The entire project is expected to cost $3.5 million, compared to the $5.6 million that would be required to repair the incinerators to comply with new Environmental Protection Agency restrictions. 

The structures were built in 1966 and 1973, and no work has been done on them since then. Maving estimates the decision to do away with the incinerators will save town taxpayers $4.7 million over the next 20 years.

The project is expected to take two years. 

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.