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Cost To Paint Water Tanks in Wheeling ‘Through the Roof’

Photo by Eric Ayres - This massive, 800,000-gallon water tank on Springdale Avenue in Wheeling is one of two tanks maintained by the city that is scheduled for repainting this year. The low bid to sandblast and paint two water tanks, both inside and out, was nearly a half a million dollars.

WHEELING — City officials are preparing to continue a regular rotation of water tank repainting projects in Wheeling, despite the increased costs of the work.

This week, Wheeling City Council is scheduled to meet at noon Tuesday, when several new pieces of legislation will come to the floor. Among items slated to be introduced for a first reading this week is an ordinance authorizing City Manager Robert Herron to spend $495,840 with Worldwide Industries of Butler, Pa., to repaint two city water tanks — one on the hillside off of Springdale Avenue and another off of GC&P Road in Washington Farms.

Although city leaders noted that the nearly half-million dollar bid for two tanks was high, the bid from Worldwide Industries was substantially lower than the other bids that were received for the project. In comparison, John B. Conomos Inc. submitted a bid of $881,855 for the work, while Almega Co. Inc. submitted a bid of $1,014,635 for the same job.

“Prices have gone through the roof,” Wheeling Public Works Director Rusty Jebbia said. “The bids surprised us, too. Costs have gone up.”

Between ongoing supply chain issues and mounting inflation, the rising cost of construction materials have continued to affect overall labor costs and bottom-line project prices across the public and private sectors over the past year, according to data from the Associated General Contractors of America.

Wheeling’s next two water tank repainting projects are big ones, however. Jebbia noted that the Springdale tank is a massive 800,000-gallon behemoth, while the Washington Farms tank has a capacity of 50,000 gallons.

In total, the city maintains 19 water tanks. Most are within the city limits, but the city’s water department provides service to communities outside of the city and as far away as Pennsylvania. The Washington Farms tank, for example, is located outside of the city limits.

Jebbia said the city has a regular rotation for tank painting, and the extent of the work often depends on the condition of the individual tanks. The Springdale and Washington Farm tanks are expected to be sandblasted and repainted both inside and out, Jebbia noted.

“We try to paint tanks once every 20 years, and we try to do a project every year or so when we can,” Jebbia said.

“The frequency depends on the tank itself, and also depending on the tank, sometimes it’s inside and outside,” Herron added. “The city maintains a tank painting fund in which each year, funds are set aside for our tanks.”

According to the ordinance, the project will be charged to the city’s Water Department Tank Rehabilitation Fund.

Wheeling City Council will meet at the City-County Building. In other action scheduled to come before council this week, officials are set to hear first readings on:

– an ordinance to spend $18,200 with Lithko Restoration Technologies of Monroe, Ohio, for additional shoring at 10th Street to be charged to the Project Fund.

– an ordinance to spend $22,598 with Fire Force Inc. of Pittsburgh for fire turnout gear to be charged to the Firefighting Equipment Fund.

– a resolution accepting the terms and conditions of the West Virginia Department of Transportation Division of Highways agreement for the Wheeling Robrecht Riverfront Park design for pedestrian and trail facilities. The agreement requires a match of sponsor funds from the city of Wheeling in the amount of $48,173 to be charged to the Project Fund.

– an ordinance changing the name of Cross Street in Mozart to Short Street in order to eliminate duplicate road names and potential confusion among delivery carriers and emergency service responders.

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