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Idaho Falls, ID – Idaho Falls Public Works staff briefed the Idaho Falls City Council today on plans 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.
The tower, which was originally built in 1937 and holds 500,000 gallons of water, is essential to the design and operation of the city’s potable water system, providing essential water pressure within the system for the multiple wells around the city that supply Idaho Falls residents with fresh water.
The tower was identified for replacement after a structural engineering consultation identified normal wear and tear issues associated with age that would require upgrading to a newer structure to meet current building standards and seismic requirements.
“The current tower was built in a different time to serve a much different community,” said Public Works Director Chris Fredericksen. “The simple fact is it is just too old to repair and maintain anymore and we need to replace it with something that is built to today’s standards to serve the growing needs of our city now and into the future.”
The project to replace the water tower will take place in phases over the next several years, with the new tower scheduled to be completed in 2023. The current tower will remain in place and operational during that time while the new, one million gallon capacity tower is constructed.
“As we need to maintain a pressurized system during construction, the current tower will need to remain erect while we build the new tower,” stated Dave Richards, Water Superintendent with Idaho Falls Public Works. “Once the new tower is built and operational we can transition to the new system and begin looking at removing the current structure.”
The first phase of the project will involve public outreach on the siting of the new tower. Because of the design of the city’s water system, the new tower will need to be built near the current tower site. City staff have identified three potential sites for the new tower, all nearby within the downtown area.
“We want to involve the public in helping decide the best location,” said Fredericksen. “The tower has been part of our skyline for more than 80 years, and we want to make sure that we give the community an opportunity to help shape how that new skyline will look for the future.”
Public Works staff will be on hand to answer questions and present displays and information on the proposed sites and design at the City’s annual Budget Watch and Construction Preview Open House on Tuesday, May 7 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Idaho Falls Library, 457 W. Broadway. Additional meetings and opportunities for public input will be held throughout the year.
Site selection is anticipated to be complete by April of 2020. Public input and final design of the tower is expected to be completed in January of 2022. Construction on the project should begin in April of 2022 with an expected completion date of October of 2023. Removal of the current tower would then be scheduled for spring of 2024.
For additional information, proposed site renderings, history and photos, please see the Water Tower link located HERE. There is also a Water Tower link on the homepage of the city's website.
Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.