OCEAN CITY – The resort’s skyline will change in the near future, as the 66th Street water tank is scheduled to be removed.
The 66th Street water tank was built in 1963 and has a 440,000 gallon capacity. Once the 64th Street water tank, which holds 1 million gallons, was built in the 1990’s, the 66th Street tank was determined unnecessary in satisfying the town’s water needs.
According to Public Works Chief Deputy Director Jim Parsons, during discussions with the Mayor and City Council in 2002 a decision was made to continue to operate the 66th Street tower regardless as an added safety margin for the water infrastructure and to further monitor the situation and potentially re-visit the issue at some point in the future.
Now almost 10 years later, Public Works Director Hal Adkins approached the council again to express how the 66th Street water tank is still not necessary.
“We still stand before you today. That tank is not needed,” Adkins said.
Whitman, Requardt & Associates, LLP., (WR&A) evaluated the 66th Street water storage tank and found that the tank would have to be repainted within the next three to five years. The firm said the tank last underwent maintenance in 2006 at an approximate cost of $400,000. Through the evaluation, the firm found no significant benefit in maintaining adequate system water pressure when the tank was in service as compared to be taking out of service.
WR&A also indicated that fire flow demands could be met in the vicinity of 66th Street with the tank out of service. According to Parsons, Ocean City Fire Chief Chris Larmore and Deputy Chief David Cropper feel comfortable that the water infrastructure, without the 66th Street tank, will be adequate to support firefighting needs.
WR&A also has some water quality concerns if the tank were to remain installed. According to the memorandum, “excessive water retention times usually result in degradation of water quality within the water distribution system. The issue is more of a concern during the off-season when significantly reduced water demands results in even greater water retention times. The retention of the 66th street elevated water storage tank would likely result in even greater retention times and is therefore counter-productive to improving distribution system water quality.”
Adkins pointed out to the council that due to the water tanks’ rotating maintenance schedule the 66th Street tank is due for painting and repair in the fiscal year of 2014, which is only a couple years away.
Adkins explained that there are cellular contracts on that tank. The cellular antenna apparatus on the 66th Street tank would have to be relocated to the 64th Street tank if the council were to vote to remove it.
Adkins said if that’s the case the department would commence discussions with the cellular firms at this time. Once the firms relocate the cellular equipment, the removal of the tank could happen either prior to the summer of 2012 or after.
Councilman Joe Hall, who sat on the council during previous discussions over the 66th Street water tank, said that it had been said before that there is a chance of selling the tank.
“Since it’s not scheduled for maintenance until 2014, why don’t we try to leave it there and try to market it,” he said. “It was told that there may be a town that might want it and they could adopt the tank at their cost and remove it and tear it down and we can save the money in demolition through purchase.”
Despite those comments, the council voted unanimously to have the 64th Street water tank be removed and posted for purchase.