Oswego Considers Tanking Riley Water Tower

OSWEGO, NY – The Common Council will consider removing the water storage tank located next to Riley Elementary School.

 At its meeting this week, the Physical Services Committee heard a request from Tony Leotta, city engineer, seeking authorization for his office and the purchasing agent to prepare a request for the proposals for engineering services for a feasibility study for abandonment and replacement of the Riley storage tank and its associated pumping station.

Riley Elementary School water tower
The city water storage tank near Riley Elementary School

“We had a recent meeting with Councilor (Eric) VanBuren, the mayor, the commissioner of works, the water plant manager and community development director. We all agreed that the time has come to consider the abandonment and replacement of the Riley tank,” Leotta told members of the Physical Services Committee.

The city’s five-year capital expenditure plan includes abandonment and replacement of the Riley elevated water storage tank in calendar year 2014, he explained.

“There is an opportunity here to apply for funding under the EFC (state Environmental Facilities Corporation),’ he noted. “I have the RFP ready to go. So, with your approval, we’d like to move it along. What this would involve would be an evaluation of what’s there now.”

A new tank would be constructed up near the city’s 10 million gallon reservoir ground storage tank; and would serve all the high elevation areas on the east side, Leotta said.

The Riley elevated tank is “only 100,000 gallons” and was constructed in 1937 and has served its useful life and is no longer cost effective to maintain; “It’s not large enough, not tall enough,” he said Monday night. It is the only one on the east side, there are three on the west side, he added.

It currently services a substantial portion of the Oak Hill section of the city’s east side.

However, it has inadequate capacity to provide for the area it was originally designed to serve, Leotta said, adding that it is difficult and costly to maintain sufficient water levels in the tank during high-demand summer seasons.

The tank is also considered a safety hazard due to its proximity to the elementary school.

According to Leotta, the tank isn’t tall enough to serve expanding low water pressure areas such as Woodridge Development, Brittany Hill Development and Route 104 East as well as higher altitude open land growth areas south of Woodridge.

The request was sent to the full council for consideration at next week’s meeting.