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Interior and Exterior Rehabilitation and Repainting of Massapequa’s Elevated Tank

In the summer of 2012 the Massapequa Water District issued an invitation to bid for the rehabilitation and repainting of the interior and exterior of its’ 1MG elevated storage tank. The tank was constructed in 1967 and sits on the water districts property on May Place in Massapequa Park, New York. The tank is approximately 182 feet high to the top of the roof and is approximately 75 feet in diameter. The tank is supported by nine steel pipe columns, has a 10 foot diameter dry riser and is of welded construction.

Prior to the bid submittal, Alpine visited the site to determine site and tank conditions. Pre-construction photos were taken of the jobsite, as well as, the exterior and interior of the tank. Surrounded by residential homes it was apparent that procedures would have to be put in place to address any and all neighborhood concerns. In fact, it was stated in the scope of work that the contractor must be cognizant of and sensitive to the fact that residents may be affected during the progress of the work and minimize such affects to the maximum extent possible.

After all preliminary investigations were complete Alpine submitted its’ bid. Of the 5 competing contractors Alpine’s bid was the lowest. Unfortunately, the Massapequa Water District was forced to reject all bids due to conflicts with the cellular companies that operate equipment on the water tank. Finally, after resolution of the cellular issues Massapequa Water District was able to reopen bidding in the spring of 2013. Once again Alpine’s bid came in as the lowest.

The formal bid award for the project was received on June 10, 2013 and the Notice to Proceed was received on July 1, 2013.

Shortly after the Notice to Proceed Alpine’s crew arrived on site to install a 6 mil poly and plywood floor containment system on which to build the scaffolding and protect the ground below the tank.

By August 5, 2013, scaffolders began arriving onsite to begin the installation of scaffold and full containment. The containment system, which consisted of 10 mil flame retardant Eagle Scaf-Lite had to meet the emission control requirements of a Class 2A system under SSPC Guide 6. Prior to the scaffold installation, the three cellular carriers located on the tank had to remove their antennas and equipment and place them on a temporary monopole which was installed onsite.

In addition to all the cellular equipment, the Nassau County Police department also had six whip antennas and three microwave dishes located atop the tank. Since these were for emergency communications and needed line of sight transmission accuracy, they had to remain in service during our work. Alpine was required to install a roof containment system that allowed for all whip antenna’s to protrude through the roof tarps and remain in operation, while the dishes were covered and protected during the blasting and painting.

Particular attention was paid towards the safety issues related to working around like Radio Frequency/Electromagnetic Energy (RF/EME) energy from the operational antennas. The crew have all been provided with specific RF/EME safety training and were required to wear RF/EME safety meters during all work on the roof of the tank to confirm that they were not exposed to energy in excess of the FCC allowable standard.

Interior and exterior blasting could not commence until total containment and all antenna work was complete. Major welding work occurred starting September 9, 2013. This involved removing the previous antenna equipment and installing brackets that were permanently welded onto the tank. In addition, some new brackets were installed that would facilitate the inclusion of a future carrier on the tank.

Prior to commencing blasting of the tank, the specifications required real time wind monitoring of site conditions. A wind monitor was installed at the top of the tank which allowed for meeting this requirement.

By September 9, 2013 site mobilization began with the installation of sound barriers and sound attenuating fence covering being erected around the loudest equipment. Additionally, a privacy screen was installed on the existing fence to benefit the surrounding neighbors.

Since the Massapequa tank contained lead in its previous coating system, a detailed environmental and personnel safety plan was developed. The site was broken down into different zones, each with a corresponding level of risk. Also, multiple types of lead monitoring were performed including pre and post soil samples, ambient air monitoring and personnel air sampling.

During the completion of the scaffold and containment system, all of the required blasting machinery and equipment was mobilized and staged at the site. At this point the tank was drained and our work could commence.

The first step was to apply Piranha NexStrip 8 paint stripper to the belly of the tank due to the fact that during the previous rehabilitation 15 years earlier the contractor had applied noxyde as a lead encapsulating solution. Noxyde is extremely difficult to remove with abrasive blasting so the additional step was required.

Exterior blasting began on October 14, 2013 as daylight got shorter and temperatures were dropping. Surface preparation consisted of SSPC-SP6 – Commercial Blast Clean on both exterior and interior dry surfaces using recycled steel grit (G40-G50 working mix). Due to concerns of losing environmental conditions to paint in the ever approaching Winter, the work crew went to a 10 hour 6 days a week schedule. With such a demanding schedule we decided to have our men stay locally at a nearby hotel for a major portion of the project.

With blasting completed and all abrasive removed Alpine was prepared to begin coating the tank. A discussion was held with Massapequa Water regarding painting with the falling temperatures and it was agreed that we would apply heat inside the containment. To accomplish this we used 2 – 1,000,000 btu heaters that pumped heated air into the tank vessel and raised the steel temperature about 5 degrees inside of the containment.

The exterior coating system was specifically designed for application and curing in cold weather. Daily monitoring of conditions and ongoing contact with the manufacturer’s technical representation, regarding product details and application, allowed for the completion of the exterior coatings.

During the final exterior coating application, work began on blasting the interior dry portion of the tank. We continued to work the extended hours and days schedule to allow for a timely completion of the project.

The remaining work took 2 ½ months to complete in adverse conditions. By January 17, 2014, after chlorination was completed, the tank was returned to the owner with only change orders and touch-ups to complete.

This project was also one of Alpine’s QP1 & QP2 audited sites. This consisted of a thorough review of the jobsite, employee interviews and associated job records with an SSPC auditor, John Catarano. The audit was successful and demonstrated Alpine’s commitment to a high standard of safety, quality and management techniques.

Massapequa Water District was very pleased with our efforts and results. In fact, additional work has been awarded since the completion of this project and we look forward to an ongoing relationship with the Water District!

Dave Scaturro
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