Dillon to install 1.5 million gallon water tank
Dillon is looking to install a new, 1.5 million gallon water tank this summer, increasing the town’s water supply for future development and firefighting. The new tank will be placed next to Dillon’s water plant, replacing an older 400,000-gallon tank that dates back to the 1960s, when the town was moved to its current location to make way for Dillon Reservoir.
“Our main tank is due for replacement. It’s lasted well longer than its expected lifespan,” Dillon public works director Scott O’Brien said. “There was a concern that with the amount of water we have stored, if there were a substantial fire, it would drain our water quickly.”
Between the new tank and Dillon’s 500,000-gallon tank at Corinthian Hill, the town will be able to store 2 million gallons of water. Dillon Town Council approved the project two years ago, but waited a year for a water permit. Now, with HDR Engineering Inc. approved as a project manager, the town hopes to choose a contractor in May, and break ground in early June.
Dillon will take out a $1.8 million loan through the state to complete the project, which will meet Colorado water requirements with new technology. The new tank should help better mix chlorine with water from Straight Creek, giving the chemical more time to inoculate viruses.
“I think it will be a good improvement for our residents,” said chief water plant operator Robert Buras. “It gives us a higher capacity in case anything happens on I-70, which allows us to have more water to pull from Straight Creek in the case of a spill.”
O’Brien remembered shoveling pinto beans out of Straight Creek for the better part of a day, after a semi carrying the legumes crashed on Interstate 70. Dillon’s water supply went offline during that time.
“We look at what the daily demand is,” O’Brien said. “If the plant has to go offline, we want to be sure to have enough water stored for at least three to five days.”
An emergency water interconnect between Dillon, Dillon Valley and Silverthorne is also in place to address situations when the plant goes offline.
“The volume of water we have in storage is not enough to fight fire and meet the domestic need for water,” O’Brien said. “We want to make sure all communities are well protected when it comes to water.”
Right now, the town plans to start prepping the site in June, and adding the new tank in late July or August. They plan to have the new infrastructure installed in September or October, before taking the old tank offline and tearing it down.
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