More Money Added to Water Tank Repair Job

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

November 4, 2022

Though it would seem a simple enough task — clean and recoat existing drinking water tanks — a project to extend the life of key storage tanks in Morro Bay is getting quite expensive as the scope of the job increases.

The City Council voted to approve Amendment No. 2 in the contract to rehabilitate water tanks at the Kinds Street and Blanca Street tank farms.

The initial contract with Superior Tank Solutions of Rancho Cucamonga, awarded in November 2021 was for $2.03 million. That was to recoat the tanks on Kings and Elena Streets. 

Immediately, the City decided to add work to the contract and Amendment No. 1, for $326,000, was approved in March 2022, “to better protect the City’s water storage tanks and improve the operability of the City’s water system. Those items were added to the contract with Amendment No. 1 and included tank mixers and couplings, additional maintenance scope, washout and spot repair of Elena tanks, factory rehabilitation of Blanca 3 and 4, and project contingency.”

But the scope of work still wasn’t quite right and the City came up with Amendment No. 2, adding an additional $441,000 and bringing up Superior’s contract to $2.8 million. 

The City’s overall project budget, compiled over two fiscal years, is $3.29 million, and if the work gets done at the contracted amount, without further increases, and assuming the contingencies are eaten up, the budget should have some $208,000 left over.

The second amendment was reached after the City decided that “Blanca 3 and 4 are bolted tanks that are being completely disassembled and reassembled with new panels and gaskets, the City elected to have seismic upgrades and other foundation work done to project the life of the bolted steel tanks and added safety for seismic concerns due to the age of the tanks and foundations.”

Blanca’s Nos. 3 and 4 tanks date back to the 1960s and are “bolted” design tanks that should be replaced in kind over time, the City said in a report. 

“However,” the report said, “with the opportunity of rehabilitation, the time is right to have seismic and foundation issues addressed as well. The replacement bolted tanks will be assembled in the same footprint as the existing Blanca 3 and 4 tanks. Blanca 1 and 2 are welded steel tanks in front of Blanca 3 and 4 and will continue to be sandblasted and recoated as planned in the contract.”

Also, the City decided it was also a good idea to improve the “cathodic protection” — anti-corrosion — system on Blanca Tanks Nos. 1 and 2 and the Kings tank No. 2. And that Kings tanks needs more handholds on the exterior. 

And like remodeling an old house, the deeper you dig into the job, the more things you find that need repair.

“Kings Tank 2 alone required around $70,000 in additional scope repairs and patching,” the report said. “The quantity was not fully captured in the design due to heavy corrosion and not begin able to fully scope metal loss of the roof during design.”

So the Council added another $95,000 in contingency monies for that tank bringing the overall contingency in the budget to $196,000 or 7% of the contract amount.

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