Rector Officials Prepare for Water Tower Paint Project

Thursday, July 27, 2017
City of Rector's Todd Watson reviews the map of the municipal water system in preparation for the water tower painting project.
TD photo/Jane Gatewood

A three-day test run prior to draining Rector’s 250,000-gallon water tower tank for repainting and refurbishing will be conducted in early August.

The Rector Water Department, with Todd Watson’s leadership as city superintendent, has been involved with an extensive, pro-active plan to keep the citizens of Rector supplied with water for the work period of between 45 and 60 days.

The contractor, Darren Jackson, with Utility Services, the company that was awarded the bid from the City of Rector, said, “We are shooting for a 45 day job, even though the contract gives us as long as 60 days” for the water tower to be out of use. Target date for the work to begin is the second week of August.

While the tank is offline, the city will use three pneumatic water storage tanks set at three different points in Rector that will be online to deliver services. The city is considering six to seven sites, dependent on the pressure elevations available at the chosen hydrants around town.

The plan is to set up one tank at the Armory location, another at Third and Sikes, and the third beside the regular water tower on Highland Street.

The wells used by the City of Rector will still be providing the water for the town. To keep the wells from working continuously, a sub-contractor has been obtained. Tom Cat’s job “is to keep us in water,” said Watson. “This company has had 50 years’ experience in doing exactly that, making sure water service and pressure is not a problem,” concluded Watson.

City crews are testing hydrants, determining which will work best for maintaining water pressure. “Consumers should conserve water during this time, but we want our citizens to use water as they normally would, just remaining aware of what’s going on in the entire service area,” Watson said.

The tanks look like those one might see being transported on an 18-wheeler. The largest tank holds 12,000 gallons with the other two holding a lesser quantity, up to a total of 20,000 gallons. The water tower holds 250,000 gallons, but Rector supplies all its customers with water from Well #1 only since it is calibrated to run according to level of use. “This #1 well works about seven times a day in comparison to some wells in other cities that might run continuously,” Watson said.

“About half the Arkansas cities that have only one water tower for their use will have to do what we are doing within the next three years. We are one of the first to do it. Rector is very fortunate to have plenty of water.”

The computer system runs the pumps and wells delivering water and removing waste water as needed. It will be moved to the top of the well house at the tower location. The fire department communication system is being placed on another tower in the same general area. “My number one goal,” says Watson, “if for the people of Rector to have their water service uninterrupted.”

Watson said the water tower painting has been on the drawing board for several years, but there was never enough money. The city council voted to proceed with getting the work done, and at the most efficient and responsible price. The working relationship with the Arkansas Department of Health and the Rector Water Department is positive and Watson wanted the citizens to know this project was not mandated by the state. In fact, Rector has never received a water quality violation. “We are jumping ahead of the game, since this work is not required, but it’s coming,” he said.

As a point of reference, the tower was built and coated internally in 1966 and has not been fully painted inside the tank since that time. The tower was “white-washed” inside in the early 1990’s, but not completely refurbished or repaired.

The City of Rector, Watson said, wants to reassure its citizens that their welfare is of utmost importance and they should experience no interruption of water service while the water tower is being improved to the most current specifications.

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