Inside the elevated storage structures set to change water pressure in the City of Lubbock

Updated: Apr. 15, 2021 at 5:13 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock’s new water tanks have prompted a few questions and theories as to how they function as they’ve been constructed. KCBD got a look inside the elevated water storage structures to see how they work, ahead of the final touches.

“The steel bowl that everybody sees, that’s 2 million gallons of water,” City Engineer Mike Keenum said standing inside the structure. “This is the concrete structure that holds that.”

Over the past year two $5.5 million storage tanks have been constructed at 130th Street and Milwaukee Avenue as well as 50th Street and Indiana Avenue.

“What an elevated tank does is maintain system pressure without having to pump,” Keenum said. “Today, we have to use pumps to maintain pressure throughout the city.”

The concrete cylinders were built with the “bowls” at their base. Those won’t remain there. Crews will begin to raise those over the next few weeks to be placed on top. Inside the cylinders are staircases to the top and two pipes. One fills the tank and the other is for overflow.

“With the energy savings by having them pressurized themselves, they’ll pay for themselves in about five to seven years, once they’re all on online,” Kennum said.

Three more structures are planned to be built in other locations. The timing of that construction will depend on future city budgets.

“Something like this is going to help staff to be able to maintain system pressure,” Keenum said. “It’s going to help the residents have constant pressures in their system. It’s just a great thing for the city. Once we get all five of these up, it’s going to be an incredible thing for us and money saver in the long run.”

Crews were set to raise the bowl at the 104th and Milwaukee location on April 23, but the wind forecast has delayed it to April 24. The process is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. and Keenum said it’s a three-hour process but residents are invited to watch at a safe distance.

The other tank at 50th and Indiana is a few months behind.

It’s expected the tanks could be fully operational in late 2021 or early 2022.

City engineers tell KCBD when the tanks are initially filled, it will be done overnight when demand for water is low.

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