Colfax approves Porta Tower for $11,000; Colfax water tower expected to be off-line for a month

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — Although the Porta Tower pressure system will only be temporary, it will be essential for maintaining water pressure in Colfax without wasting water while the water tower is off-line.

The Colfax Village Board approved a bid from Municipal Well and Pump out of Waupun at the April 8 meeting in the amount of $11,381 for a Porta Tower pressure system.

“We have to shut it down when we paint the (water) tower, and we need a tank system for pressure,” said Rand Bates, director of public works.

If a portable tower is not used while the water tower is being repaired and painted, the only way to maintain water pressure in Colfax would be through pressure relief valves, which is essentially an open fire hydrant running 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

About a half a million gallons of water per day would be released through the hydrant and would drain into the Red Cedar River.

Painting and repair of the water tower is expected to take about a month, depending upon the weather, Bates said.

If the water tower project lasts more than a month, Municipal Well and Pump would charge $250 per week for the portable tower after the first four weeks, he said.

Another company supplied a quote of $12,000 for a portable tower, Bates said.

The City of Augusta has used a portable tower system, and according to the Augusta director of public works, the portable system worked well and did not create any problems, he said.

The Colfax Village Board accepted a bid of $93,000 last summer from Lane Tank of Menomonie for repairing and painting the water tower.

The initial estimate for the water tower project was $200,000.

Bidders were given two options: to repair and paint the water tower last fall or to wait until this spring.

Eight bids were received all together, and according to the bid tabulation supplied by Ayres Associates, the highest bid was for $208,860 from Maguire Iron, Inc., out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for the spring of 2013.

KLM Engineering, a company specializing in water towers, did an inspection of the Colfax tower in 2011 and estimated $216,000 for painting and repairs and $30,000 for the engineering.

In the fall of 2010 when other work was being done on the water tower, the Colfax Village Board decided to have the tower inspected at the same time.

The state Department of Natural Resources requires an inspection of the water tower every five years, and the 2010 inspection was completed three years ahead of time and would have extended the next inspection by another five years.

Problems discovered during the 2010 inspection included rust, peeling paint and cracking paint as well as problems with aluminum jackets that protect the insulation.

Lane Tank performed the initial inspection, drew up a set of specifications for the work and submitted a bid proposal in the amount of  $85,560.

Jean Olson, who was village president at the time of the initial inspection, said she wanted proposals from other companies in addition to Lane Tank.

Mike Boyd, the village’s sewer and water operator who retired in December of 2011, said the inspector from Lane Tank seemed surprised that the paint was in such bad shape and would have expected several more good years from the paint.

Caldwell Tank installed the water tower new in 1996.

Painting and repair of the Colfax water tower is expected to begin in early June.