New water tank replaces storage facility damaged in Nisqually quake

On the route to Clinton, a new structure on Highway 525 draws the attention of drivers just past the Dairy Queen. And it actually owes its existence to a few shakes.

It’s the Clinton Water District’s state-of-the-art water tank that went “online” in late May. It now provides better, safer water service for Clinton.

A 146,000-gallon water tank of glass-fused steel was completed late last month and it is currently in use providing water for Clinton, said Maury Hood, Clinton Water District commissioner.

Located on Highway 525, the tank replaced the 1964 redwood tank which had been damaged in the last two major earthquakes to hit the island, the most recent one in February 2001, Hood said.

The old tank originally held 100,000 gallons and was 20 feet tall.

Because of the damage in those earthquakes, Mike Helland, the water district manager, held the water level below 17 feet.

“Above that we had a pretty substantial leak,” Hood said.

The new tank has the same footprint as the old one, 32 feet in diameter, but is 32 feet tall. The water level is now at 25 feet,

Hood said.

The general contractor for the project was Larry Brown Construction of Bellingham, and the tank itself was supplied and constructed by Aquastore NW, Inc.

“We are all relieved that we made it, and that the tank was replaced before something very bad happened,” Hood said.

The total project cost was $392,023 including tax, Hood said.

The Clinton Water District relied on state funds from the Public Works Trust Fund for the project. But funds from that source may not be available in the future.

“We hope to have a dedication ceremony in August after the primaries, with the state representatives here, both incumbent and challengers. We want to demonstrate just how important the Public Works Trust Fund (PWTF) is to utilities,” Hood said.

This was Clinton’s second PWTF loan, which is a low-interest loan provided by the state. Recently, there was a substantial raid on the PWTF funds by the Legislature, Hood said.

“We would like to discourage any further raids,” he said.

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