LEESBURG – It’s a story about how modern technology found more sophisticated ways of delivering services, Al Purvis said, even if it comes at the expense of a local property that some people had long considered a prominent local landmark.
“There’s a few that were disappointed we tore the tank down, because it was kind of a landmark,” Purvis said. “But eventually we’d have to tear it down anyway, because we would still have to maintain it.”
On Wednesday, Oct. 10, the city of Leesburg completed the demolition of the tower on U.S. 27, in front of the Highland Lakes retirement community, that once held 200,000 gallons of water.
Last month, it was replaced by an 800,000-gallon ground-water tank designed to improve water pressure. It’s a $2.1 million replacement project that the city started in 2009, to provide city residents with a constant water pressure system, said Purvis, Leesburg’s water department chief operator.
Under the new system, “It will be a better water system because your pressure would be constant, whereas with the tower, it flowed up and down with the pressure of the tank,” Purvis said.
The tower, which had provided water to residents in the Highland Lakes, Spanish Village and Windsong subdivisions, as well as a few local businesses, had its last day of operation on Sept. 5.
“We just completed the tear down yesterday,” Purvis said on Thursday, Oct. 11. “It is gone now.”
That tower was originally erected in 1983, Purvis said, although the structure itself dated back several decades earlier.
“We found out it was actually made in the 1960s and relocated to this location when the city took it over and acquired it in 1984,” Purvis said. “It was what was being done at the time, based on gravity. The height of the tank is what creates the pressure. The taller it is, the more pressure it will create, based on gravity.”
The tower was 180 feet tall.
“It was adequate at the time,” Purvis said. “We have added additional connections to it, but basically it had outgrown itself. That’s why we took it down and moved to a pumping system with a ground storage tank.”
The new system, he said, has a capacity of 3 million gallons a day.
“The new system has been up and running since September 5,” Purvis said. “We had to keep the old plant running while we upgraded, and once we upgraded, we made the switch.”
Since then, he said, the response from local customers has been good.
“It’s been positive feedback,” Purvis said. “The majority of them say they like it. They can see there is a difference in their water pressure.”
The negative reactions, Purvis added, have not been able the quality of the water pressure or service, but from those who felt the tower had some historic significance.
Purvis said he understands their sentiment, but added that maintaining an empty tank would have been unnecessarily costly.
“We would still have to maintain it, because it would be a liability,” he said. “Things would start falling off it, things like that. We had outgrown the tower, and it was the best option to tear it down. We couldn’t have made the tower any bigger. It could have been raised, but that was costly as well. The best alternative was the way we went, which was actually for constant pressure, and for water for fire protection. For all those reasons, it was just the way to go.”
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