Home Community Water tank mulled for Fair Oaks Ranch

Water tank mulled for Fair Oaks Ranch

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FAIR OAKS RANCH — Guided by public input and feedback from community meetings, City Council is planning the construction of a multimillion-dollar elevated storage tank to serve future water needs.

The structure could be erected near Ammann Road in the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, pending final approval. It could hold up to 500,000 gallons for putting out fires or for other emergencies.

“It’s not paid for through property taxes, it’s paid for by the people who use the water,” said Councilman Roy Elizondo.

The budget could tally upward of $5 million, he added.

“An elevated water-storage tank is a big, big deal for our community,” Councilwoman Snehal Patel said. “From the beginning, we have emphasized the need for transparency and to actively engage our residents in the planning process.”

The next community workshop is planned for Sept. 10, time and venue to be announced. Updates will be posted at fairoaksranchtx.org.

Residents spoke up on the structure’s model and location during a public meeting earlier this summer, followed July 18 by planning and design firm Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. updating the council.

“Cost was the most frequent thing that brought about the most concern,” said Ryan Sowa, Kimley-Horn’s project manager. “(Residents were) not only fixed on what’s the initial cost of this tank, but what type of tank, what does that mean for long-term maintenance, and what does it cost to recoat this tank depending on what style it is.”

According to Sowa, an elevated storage tank will guarantee a constant water supply, plus maintain pressure for the town’s needs — including extinguishing conflagrations. Both operational costs and far-range savings are possible with the tank, city leaders heard.

A water-storage tank also ensures proper flow when a faucet or shower is activated, engineers said. Well water is treated and then sent to ground storage. From there, it’s pumped to a pressure tank, which then sends it to homes and businesses.

During the June public workshop, attended by 31 residents, planners received several remarks. They included:

  • Strong concerns expressed with the tank’s cost
  • Reservations regarding tank aesthetics
  • Limited worry about the city’s long-term master plan
  • Minimal uneasiness over the impact of construction, permits and approvals

Out of four suggested areas, the location north of Amman received the most votes. Residents overwhelmingly preferred the structure away from homes, and on higher elevation, Sowa told the council.

According to him, respondents liked putting the tank atop a hill and distant from existing infrastructure, but that could mean a bigger budget.

Regarding the tank’s design, attendees preferred the composite tank, which has a concrete base and steel bowl at the top, or the one resembling a golf ball.

One impetus for constructing the tower is a 2017 citation from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality following a standard review of the city’s water-storage capacity and pressure, according to the city’s website.

The city already planned to construct an elevated storage tank after deciding to provide water services to residents in the 3,258 acres of land acquired from San Antonio  in 2006.

This came after failing to reach an agreement with the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority, which serves Fair Oaks Ranch, to create additional facilities for the growing city’s demands. Homeowners might have had to drill wells on their land to satisfy peak water demands, officials said.

During the upcoming September meeting, residents are encouraged to voice their opinions, council members said. And, when council meetings are held, neighbors can also sign up to talk during citizens to be heard.

“They can come and tell us what their concerns are so we can hear it all at the same time and then, in our deliberations before we make a decision, they can get their chance to speak,” Elizondo said.

The council is expected to approve the final tank site in November. Design completion is scheduled for August 2020 with construction beginning three months later and ending in November 2021.

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