Work Progressing On Sunset Mesa Water Storage Project

Local News

MONTROSE, Colo. — Construction of the Sunset Mesa water tank and pump station is progressing on schedule and within budget with the overall goal of providing safe and reliable drinking water to city water customers living west of the Uncompahgre River.  

Currently, the tank is approximately 40 feet tall, and work over the next several months will focus primarily on tank erection before the 46-foot diameter, 130-foot tall structure will be placed into service this coming fall. The current green color seen on the tank is a primer only; the final tank will be painted off-white with the city logo on top.    

This new tank is replacing an existing below-ground storage tank built on Sunset Mesa in 1960.  

“Although the old tank was sufficient for its time, continued growth on the western side of the river, increased overall water demands in the city, and changes in water quality regulations have made this old tank obsolete, primarily due to its low elevation, structural condition, and operational issues,” said City Engineer Scott Murphy.  

In 2018 the city’s Utilities and Engineering Departments discussed with the City Council an initial design to replace the tank. The city then hired an engineering consultant, the Farnsworth Group, to perform an evaluation of alternatives and determine the best course of action for replacing the aged tank. This evaluation of alternatives looked at up-front capital costs, anticipated maintenance and operational costs (including pumping), life-cycle costs, operational considerations, and aesthetic considerations for nine different tank styles. 

The Farnsworth Group ultimately recommended a 130-foot-tall, standpipe-style tank as the preferred alternative for replacing the old tank. This also matched recommendations made in the city’s 2016 water master plan update. The alternatives evaluation was discussed at a public meeting with the City Council in 2019 and the city decided to move forward with final design of the recommended alternative. Additional detail on the alternatives evaluation can be found on the project’s webpage at MoveMo.co.

The project was put out to bid early in summer of 2020, with four Colorado companies and one Kansas-based company responding. After careful evaluation, Murphy recommended awarding the contract to the low bidder, Ridgway Valley Enterprises of Montrose at a cost of $4,336,876. In addition to recommending that the council consider approving the construction contract, staff also recommended hiring the Farnsworth Group to provide engineering support in the amount of $409,290.

City Councilors voted unanimously to approve the contract for the project at the September 1, 2020, regular meeting. The project is being funded through the city’s water capital fund. 

“Despite some Covid-related supply chain issues for specialty equipment within the pump house, we are happy to report that construction is progressing along nicely and on schedule,” Murphy said. “As Montrose continues to see accelerated growth, we are excited to see this critical infrastructure project coming together to help us stay ahead of emergency storage needs and improve our water system’s reliability and efficiency.” 

Murphy said the new tank is designed to serve the residents of Montrose for 50-plus years and help to ensure the availability of clean, reliable water even in the event of an emergency.

Any questions regarding the project may be directed to City Engineer Scott Murphy at 970.901.1792. 

For more city news visit CityofMontrose.org.

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