Woodinville Water District requested bids on a tank improvement project for a Brookside neighborhood water reservoir. The aging reservoir was located in a residential area and serviced the homes and businesses around it, providing water and fire flow.
Due to our decades-long work experience improving, restoring, and retrofitting field-erected tanks, T BAILEY INC. felt that we were in a good position to exceed the client’s expectations for this project. We submitted a bid, got accepted, and got to work.
As often happens with improvement jobs, the situation at the job site didn’t quite match the plans our client had provided. This was to be expected. Retrofits are messy jobs — you never know what you’re going to find until you put boots on the ground.
Despite the many challenges we encountered during this project, we were able to complete the reservoir within a timeframe the client was pleased with. This was due to the skill of T BAILEY INC.’s crews and their ability to solve challenges on the fly.
Scope of the Woodinville Reservoir Restoration Project
The scope of this project increased once we began work and discovered additional problems with the reservoir (extreme corrosion, for example). By the end of the restoration, we provided the following products and services:
- Installed an 8’x20’x9’ underground control vault that was outfitted with mechanical piping and controls.
- Improved the tank with seal-welding, new ladders, gauge-boards, inlet and outlet piping, and overflow piping.
- Provided storm piping.
- Carried out associated demolition of old hardware.
- Improved the job site by adding grading and a gravel access driveway.
- Provided over $700,000 of coatings work, blasting the tank down to bare metal and recoating the entire interior and exterior.
Challenges We Encountered During This Project
While this retrofit sounded straightforward on paper, things got messy within the first day of work on the reservoir. Fortunately for the client, we thrive on mess.
Here are four of the challenges our crews encountered and the solutions we developed to resolve them.
Challenge #1: Working in a Residential Location
The tank was located on a tiny lot deep inside a residential area. The job site had a single access gate, which opened onto a neighborhood street. Since the lot was so small, we were forced to unload our trucks onto the street and then move equipment to the tank via smaller vehicles.
This logistical challenge could have devolved into a mess on the street, but fortunately, our team has extensive experience working in similar tight job sites.
By collaborating with the city for traffic control and careful coordination between our different crews, we were able to efficiently stage our equipment and materials and make do with the site’s limited access and laydown area.
Challenge #2: Accessing the Interior of the Tank
We needed to get heavy machinery, man lifts, and other equipment inside the tank, so we followed standard-operating-procedures and cut a door sheet into the side of the tank. Due to the project’s tight timeline, we needed to fit as many crews inside the tank as possible, but the door sheet created another limited-access challenge.
Everything going in and coming out of the tank had to pass through the single door sheet.
This could have become a problem if the client had tried to bring in multiple contractors to retrofit the reservoir. But because they chose to work exclusively with T BAILEY INC., we were able to manipulate crew schedules and logistics in order to fit the maximum number of personnel and equipment inside. In addition to ventilation and welding equipment, we were able to simultaneously run ten-man lifts inside the tank during restoration.
Challenge #3: We’d Been Given Incorrect Reservoir Information
A surprising challenge was that the tank we found at the job site was smaller than what Woodinville Water District had shown us on the plans. The tank was supposed to be 18’ tall, but it was actually 16’ tall.
While this may sound like a positive event — less tank means less work, right? The problem was that we had already fabricated most of the hardware (ladders, overflow piping, enclosures, etc.) to fit an 18’ tank. This forced us to set up a fabrication shop and modify our hardware at the job site.
Fortunately, T BAILEY INC was the only contractor on this project, so we were able to control the timeline and rotate work in order to keep the project moving forward despite this setback. Because we had to modify a lot of our tools, we simply paused those teams and sent in workers that weren’t dependent on miss-fitting equipment.
Challenge #4: Extensive Corrosion Damage
Once inside the tank, we discovered extreme corrosion damage that went far beyond what the client had expected. The damage was so extensive that it pushed the project timeline back by two months, creating two challenges.
First, removing the corrosion required a shocking amount of blasting — it took 140 yards of sandblast media to finally strip all the corrosion away. Transferring this much media into the tank, blasting, and then removing it from the tank required a lot of manpower.
Second, because the timeline was delayed, painting was pushed into the winter months. This required us to equip the inside of the tank with heating in order to complete painting in the cold.
As with the other challenges, because T BAILEY INC. was the only contractor brought in by the client, we were able to absorb these problems and keep the project moving forward without interruption.
Why T BAILEY INC. Was Uniquely Qualified to Complete this Project
We went into this project expecting challenges and confident that we would be able to overcome them. In the end, our positive premonition paid off.
Our seasoned crews have been building and repairing tanks for decades and they were able to identify challenges early and resolve them quickly.
In addition to the expertise of our employees, T BAILEY INC.’s capability to complete every phase of the tank project in-house meant that we were able to provide the client with a single point of contact throughout the project.
We helped the client develop innovative solutions to the challenges we encountered and we had the internal infrastructure necessary to put these solutions into immediate action. We had multiple crews working at the same time, so when problems arose, we quickly modified equipment and rotated work schedules in order to keep the project moving forward.
A Trusted Tank Improvement Company Near You
No retrofit job is perfect. Each one comes with a unique set of challenges and multiple layers of problems. But restoring a reservoir shouldn’t feel like gambling.
By working with a trusted, all-inclusive fabricator, like T BAILEY INC., you can remove the stress caused by these kinds of projects and look forward to receiving dependable, effective results.
To learn more about how we can help you with your reservoir restoration project, contact T BAILEY INC. today.
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