Tupelo to lose water tower for 60 days

TUPELO – One of the city’s 11 elevated water tanks will go offline for repairs next month, reducing the community’s total water supply by 1 million gallons.
Residents shouldn’t notice any difference in pressure or quality during the estimated 60-day project, said Tupelo Water & Light Manager Johnny Timmons.
“We already cut the tank off for a week and a half and put pressure gauges in to monitor it,” Timmons explained. “We noticed no loss in pressure, and we got no phone calls from people complaining.”
If pressure does drop at any time after the large tower goes offline, the city can readjust the flow by pumping in additional water from its 1.5 million-gallon ground tank.
Altogether, the city’s elevated tanks hold 4 million gallons of potable water. And all but three feed the main system, which supplies almost every home and business in Tupelo. The others – at Chesterville, Belden and Priceville – run independently and feed separate neighborhoods.
The tower on East Main Street is no longer in use and not included in the city’s statistics.
Tupelo Water & Light customers use an average of 9 million gallons of water daily, Timmons said, but the demand is expected to grow.
To meet the demand, the municipality has plans to build a 750,000-gallon water tower near the Tupelo Regional Airport. The project awaits clearance from the Federal Airport Authority because of its proximity to the runway.
When it’s done, the tower will provide more capacity to the quickly developing area in west Tupelo – not just for drinking but for fire protection. And that will help the city try to lower its overall fire rating, meaning lower insurance rates for everyone, Timmons said.
In the meantime, the city must clean and inspect its existing water towers every five years and perform complete upgrades every 10 years, all on a staggered basis. This year is Park Hill’s turn.
Workers with Georgia-based Utility Services Co., will drain and sandblast the inside and outside of the tower behind Green Street’s A.M. Strange Library before applying three coats of paint. They’ll also apply the neighborhood logo at the request of Ward 4 Councilwoman Nettie Davis.
The entire upgrade will cost $308,500.
Most tanks cost about half that for upgrades, but the Park Hill tower is one of the city’s largest and therefore requires more manpower and supplies.
Timmons said the city intentionally waited until October to start the project because water usage drops to its lowest levels in the fall. Taking the large tower offline will have less impact now than it would in mid-July, for example, when more people water yards and wash cars.

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal