City of Idaho Falls Plans to Replace Aged Water Tower
Plans are underway to replace the city’s aging water tower, currently located along the Snake River near Idaho Falls Power. The tower has been scheduled for replacement as part of the city’s Water Facility Plan which was approved in 2015. Click HERE to read more.
- Press Release (April 15, 2019)
- City Council Work Session (April 15, 2019)
- Budget Watch Open House - May 7, 2019, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Idaho Falls Library. Staff will be on hand to address questions concerning the water tower.
WATER TOWER PURPOSE: The stored water provides a reliable source of pressurized water for firefighting activities. During periods of local and city-wide power outages, the elevated tower helps prevent depressurization of the city water system, particularly in the downtown area, until well site electrical loads can be transferred to backup generators. In addition, the tower provides constant pressure which prevents contamination incidents due to back flow and minimizes the frequency and magnitude of boil orders during emergencies. All pump systems are designed to match the pressure provided by the elevated tower which is located near the exact geographical center of the city.
HISTORY: The water tower construction was completed in 1937 by Chicago Bridge & Iron Company. It is currently located at Idaho Falls Power which was “Idaho Falls Water Works,” at the time the tower was built. The original color of the tower was grey. In 1974, the elevated tower was painted red, white and blue in celebration of the nation’s bicentennial year of 1976.
In September of 1997, a paint coat analysis was conducted on the tower and the roof and eaves only were painted white at a cost of approximately $24,000.
In June 2008, another evaluation was completed and it was recommendation that the city consider sandblasting the tower to bare steel and re-coat the entire tower.
In July 2008, the Water Division brought in a structural engineering company to review the structural integrity of the tower. The study revealed that the tower had met its expected design life and that the tower did not meet modern criteria. G&S Structural Engineers recommended that the city not perform a full structural analysis but rather generate plans for its replacement or demolition.
In addition, photos taken of the tower by the Water Division in 2008 show normal wear and tear issues associated with age that would require upgrading to a newer structure to meet current building standards and seismic requirements.