Municipal water systems in urban or suburban areas must be able to reliably supply hundreds, thousands or even millions of homes and businesses with clean water at an affordable cost. In order to meet the capacity and pressure demands, especially during peak periods, they often include water storage tanks to act as a buffer between the consumers and the water source, which could be a well, reservoir, lake or river. This ensures that there is enough water to supply clients when demand outstrips the amount of water that can be supplied from the source, due to pumping limitations, or during periods of maintenance or repairs to the system.
Typically, these storage tanks are made from welded steel, which can be expensive to build and take a long time to install. Alternatively, they may be made from concrete, composites or plastics, each of which has maintenance issues, and can be expensive or difficult to install.
A better option, in many cases, is bolted tanks, which are typically made from steel sections that are bolted together. They offer the same benefits of welded steel tanks, with quicker installation times, reduced maintenance and better expansion options.
Here are five benefits of using bolted tanks in municipal water systems:
1) Several Choices of Materials
Municipal water systems typically supply potable water for both drinking and utility purposes, but in some cases, they may provide nonpotable water. Depending on the type of water provided, the local environmental conditions and local, state and federal regulations, different types of materials may be required for water storage tanks.
Bolted tanks are available in several choice of materials for potable or nonpotable use, including powder-coated steel, galvanized steel or stainless steel. Powder-coated and galvanized steel tanks are available in versions that meet FDA, USDA and NSF Standard 61 requirements for the storage of drinking water, and where the most hygienic materials are required, stainless steel can be also used. Alternatively, bolted tanks are also available in aluminum and fiberglass for certain use cases.
2) Fast Installation
Municipal water systems must supply a nearly constant flow of water to the communities that they serve, and any downtime could lead to safety issues, consumer complaints and even serious problems, such as a lack of water during a fire or emergency. Welded steel tanks and concrete tanks must primarily be fabricated on-site and are subject to delays due to bad weather, possibly leading to extended system downtime during the installation process.
Bolted tanks are manufactured off-site, in a controlled environment, before being transported to the installation site and assembled. Not only does this lead to better quality control, but it also minimizes the downtime during the installation process and reduces the amount of labor required. Installation can be completed in a mater of days, rather than weeks, ensuring a steady supply of water to the customers that depend on it.
3) Low Maintenance
Bolted tanks made from stainless steel, galvanized steel, aluminum or fiberglass are naturally corrosion resistant, and require very little maintenance to keep them operable and leak-free, unlike welded steel tanks, which may corrode overtime and require periodic painting to reduce the chance of leaks. Bolted tanks made from powder-coated steel have an extremely durable heat-activated epoxy coating that is evenly applied in a factory setting, virtually eliminating weak spots in the coating and reducing the risk of corrosion significantly. Welded steel tanks must be finished in the field, once all the welds are complete. This can lead to an uneven coating, with weak areas that are prone to corrosion.
Additionally, the fasteners and other hardware used to assemble bolted tanks is also corrosion resistant, and the fasteners can be capped or fully encapsulated to further protect them from harm. Between each steel section, durable, long-lasting EDPM rubber gaskets are used to prevent leaks and corrosion.
4) Simple Repairs
Welded steel, concrete and other types of storage tanks require significant amounts of time and labor to repair. Damaged sections of welded tanks must be cut out and new steel must welded in and finished, while concrete tanks must be repaired by removing the damaged section, pouring new concrete and allowing it to cure.
Comparatively, bolted tanks are quick and easy to repair. The damaged section or fitting can simply be unbolted and removed, in many cases, and a replacement installed with new gaskets and fasteners. This reduces the downtime for the water system significantly, and reduces the amount of labor required, as well as the associated costs.
5) Expansion Options
Urban and suburban areas often grow over time, and with increased population comes increased demands on the water supply system. With conventional types of tanks, the only option, in most cases, is to add additional tanks to meet the increased demand, which can be a costly endeavor with significant system downtime.
With bolted tanks there are two options. The first is to add additional bolted tanks to increase storage capacity, hitch can be done quicker and easier with than other types of tanks, minimizing downtime. Another option is to expand the existing tanks, if there is enough room and the installation site can support the added weight. To increase the size of the existing tanks, more sections can simply be added, increasing the height and capacity. This can reduce costs, installation time and labor requirements significantly, while also reducing downtime for customers.
Bolted tanks are a cost-effective and reliable option for many municipal water systems, and they have several advantages over competing solutions. In addition to storing drinking water, bolted tanks can also be used to store runoff from storm-drain systems, as well as waste-water from municipal or industrial systems, and they have dozens of other possible uses.