Albert Lea Central Water Tower’s days are numbered

ALBERT LEA, Minn. (KTTC) – The aging Central Water Tower in Albert Lea is deteriorating and city leaders want to replace it.

Bolton & Menk, an engineering planning and consulting firm, is working with the city of Albert Lea on this project and narrowed down four prospective locations: Y-H Hanson South near Mrs. Gerry’s Kitchen, Y-H Hanson North, north of Sykes Street, a spot along County Road 45, and where the existing Central Tower remains.

The company recommends demolishing the old tower and building a new one where the Central Tower is because it provides the best flows and pressures for existing and future uses.

However, at that location, the tower would have to be demolished before the new tower could be built because of limited space. This would not impact the residents’ water supply because the city has enough water storage to meet its current water needs.

“Its height is much lower than the other three towers so they use it only as an emergency tower and they circulate the water to keep it refreshed,” said Herman Dharmarajah, senior principal environmental engineer with Bolton & Menk.

Dharmarajah added he did not recommend building a water tower along CR-45 because water flows are not adequate in this area to generate high enough turn over in the tank.

The cost of the proposed tower is anywhere between $4.2 million and $6.6 million depending on the type.

Albert Lea has applied for a low-interest loan program with the Minnesota Department of Health to fund the project, something it expects to qualify for because one criterion for the loan program is to replace aging infrastructure.

“Typical rule of thumb is if your rehab cost is more than 50 percent of a new tower, then the recommendation is to demolish,” said Dharmarajah.

Linda Ha

Linda Ha

Reporter | @LindaHaTV | lha@kttc.com

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