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Richmond water tank a costly, complex issue

January 30, 2014

RICHMOND — The town of Richmond’s water tank is old and in need of repair, but like a Rube Goldberg machine, one small move will cause a chain reaction: The water tank can’t be repaired unless it temporarily taken down; it can’t be taken down unless another water tower is constructed first to keep Richmond’s system afloat. And, after the old water tank is repaired, it will be put back online so that Richmond will have two water tanks.

Also, the water isn’t only for Richmond – the town Hopkinton has 48 residents who are on the Richmond water line.

Hopkinton Town Council President Frank Landolfi said that by a 1991 contract Hopkinton is responsible for 17.5 percent of the capital expenses and maintenance of the water tower.

“It’s a $2 million contract and after you subtract the grants that Richmond is going to get, it’s like $1.2 million and it’s a lot of money for our town,” he said. “The old tank needs to be repaired and [Richmond] needs something to be brought on line and obviously that makes sense.”

Richmond Town Administrator Rob Rock said the town council passed a resolution for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between The towns of Richmond and Hopkinton concerning construction of the new water tower for the Richmond water system.

“The current tank is very old and needs renovations very badly,” Rock said. “We’re putting up a new water tank so that we can take the other one down and repair it. Then when it comes back up, we’re going to have two water tanks on either end of the system and that’s really going to be beneficial to the system.”

He added, “The water line has grown since its inception and it just needs to have some redundancy in the system to make sure that there’s balance.”

Rock said he wasn’t sure how much the repairs to the old tank would cost.

“We’ve got to get inside and see how bad it is,” he said. “There’s been some very very limited work done on it over the years. It’s not known what it’s going to cost at this time to renovate it.”

Rock added, “The water tank that’s being built is going to be a bit over $2 million and we’re working on getting some loan grants from the federal government. I believe that last year at the town meeting, the voters approved money for a new water tank.”

Rock said that Richmond planned to have a pre-construction meeting on Jan. 29 and hoped to get construction started soon.

“A lot will depend on the weather but we’re hoping to start within the next two months or so, but that’s weather permitting,” said Rock.

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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