OCWA–Central New York’s Water Authority–was recently honored to be awarded the 2020 Project of the Year from the New York Section American Water Works Association (NYSAWWA) for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art 500,000 gallon elevated water storage tank in the Town of Camillus.  The award will be presented at NYSAWWA’s awards program to be held virtually on June 30.  The new cast-in-place composite Oakridge Tank replaced an existing steel tank which was nearing the end of its useful life.  The old tank’s tall, narrow geometry limited its useful storage volume. In addition, the tank always had to remain close to its capacity in order to maintain pressure to the system extremities. A common inlet/outlet pipe created the potential for water quality challenges. The exterior coating was deteriorated and interior metal loss was evident.  The tank was subject to numerous leaks and repairs, as evidenced by the below picture showing a frozen leak.


OCWA’s consulting engineer GHD designed the upgrades to the Oakridge Tank.  The existing site was challenging due to its small footprint, tight construction area, and its steep and winding access road. The approved design included:

  1. Demolition and removal of the existing steel water storage tank within existing tank footprint.
  2. Replacement of the old standpipe design with a composite elevated water storage tank.
  3. Implementation of a separate tank inlet and outlet to improve turnover and water quality.
  4. Improvement of site access for construction and future maintenance.
  5. Rehabilitation of an existing grass swale into a rip rap swale to improve site drainage.

Caldwell Tanks was awarded the contract and construction began in early 2018. The site’s direct buried electrical service was discovered along the access road during access road improvements. OCWA coordinated with the National Grid to design a replacement electrical service along a proposed drainage swale with a new transformer to be installed at the top of the swale. The improvements that were eventually performed included clearing and grading to widen portions of the driveway, including a sharp switchback, and grading to reduce portions of the grade.  These improvements enabled access by concrete trucks, cranes, and even tandem tractor-trailer rigs during construction (tractor-trailers were pulled by bull-dozers and followed by a crane to swing the trailer around the switchback). GHD provided a specialized welding and painting inspector to ensure that welding and painting were performed in accordance with applicable industry standards. Caldwell substantially completed the tank in October 2019, and it was put into operation shortly thereafter.

The NYSAWWA Project of the Year Award was established to promote excellence in the management and administration of water industry projects by recognizing the importance of alliances between water utilities, consultants, engineers and contractors in completing successful potable water projects.