The south water tower will be painted and rehabbed this spring. The north water tower is also scheduled for work in 2021. | Maxham

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Repainting and rehabilitation of both the north and south village water towers in Forest Park are on the 2021 list of capital projects. The south water tower will be done first with the work potentially beginning as early as March 1.

At a Feb. 8 meeting, the village council voted to award the contract for rehabilitation of the south water tower to Tecorp, Inc., which submitted the lower bid of two received by Forest Park. The bids were opened in May, but the village waited to award the project until a required license agreement for construction access with the owner of the adjacent land could be reached.

At this time, the contract is only being awarded for the south tower, which will cost $674,200.

The village is still working on license agreements for cell providers on the north tank to temporarily relocate their equipment so cellular service won’t be compromised. The bid for the north water tank by Tecorp is for $1,049,300. Tecorp has confirmed in writing that the bid price is good until April 1, 2021.

According to engineer Jim Amelio from Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. (CBBEL), the goal of the water tower rehabilitation projects is far beyond prettying up the tanks or giving them a fresh coat of paint for the sake of appearances.

“The paint is there to protect the tower itself so that it doesn’t rust, and that it preserves the longevity of the structure,” Amelio said during the Feb. 8 meeting. “I think technically it’s a 20-to-25-year life expectancy per paint job, and I believe that we are kind of at the high end of that right now.”

Both the inside and outside of the tank will be painted, which means the tank will need to be completely drained. Amelio said the drinking water of residents will not be negatively impacted in any way.

Water to residents’ homes when they take a shower or turn on the sink comes mostly from the City of Chicago through pipes, but to maintain water pressure and for emergencies, the village has over two million gallons of water stored between the north and south water tanks and in underground reservoirs.

Both the north and south water towers contain half a million gallons of water each. Additionally, the village has two underground water reservoirs, one holding a million gallons of water under the community center playground and another with approximately 350,000 gallons under the Hannah Avenue pump station.

According to Sal Stella, water operator for the village of Forest Park, water storage is mandated by law; although the village’s water comes from the City of Chicago, in the case of a loss of connection, there would be water to pull from to supply to the town.

Stella added that there are lots of redundancies built into the water system to ensure more than one source of water in an emergency.

In terms of the exterior painting of the water tower tanks, the design will be as it is now, with simply the words “Forest Park” on them.