Potsdam water tower work nearly done

Over the summer, the village of Potsdam’s water tower adjacent to the Clarkson University campus had its exterior painted and interior renovated. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

POTSDAM — The village of Potsdam’s Clarkson water tower rehab is on the verge of completion.

The tower, which was under a state order to be fixed, was back online at the end of summer and now just has a few items to take care of, Village Administrator Greg O. Thompson said.

The village began studying what it would take to rehabilitate the tower about five years ago. An engineering study completed three years ago determined it would take about $900,000 to fix the tower.

The job was completed on time and under budget, Mr. Thompson said.

The village obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development low-interest loan for the work, but already had more than half the money needed on hand.

“We put enough money away in savings so we could pay for it,” Mr. Thompson said, “with no loans or grants.”

The project was a logistics challenge, Mr. Thompson said. Work could not begin until students left the Clarkson University campus in the spring, and had to be completed by the time they returned in late summer.

The tower is critical for having enough water in that part of the village when students are in residence at both Clarkson and SUNY Potsdam, he said.

Workers needed to drain the tower, let it dry and sandblast the interior and exterior. Once the tower was cleaned, workers needed to apply primer to the inside of the tank, then a special epoxy paint that then had to cure and be tested.

When water was put back in the tank it was discovered that a valve on the outflow side of the operation had a small leak. A backup valve was installed as a fail-safe, Mr. Thompson said.

Amstar of Western New York Inc., of Cheektowaga, which bid $912,000 to win the contract, will be back in Potsdam in the spring to inspect the interior lining and replace the leaky valve, Mr. Thompson said.

It will cost about $15,000 to replace the valve he said, but it will still be within the budget for the job.

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