Friday, August 05, 2005

Construction work progressing on new water tank in hills west of the Rice-McMurtry area in Vacaville

Article Launched: 08/05/2005 07:01:07 AM

Work progressing on new water tank

By Tom Hall/Staff Writer

Unless you look very closely at the , you may not notice that chunks of earth are being scraped and dug out of the side of one rolling slope.

And next summer, you may not notice when a 5-million-gallon concrete water tank sits in that hillside, adding mass capacity to the city's water system.

Contractors are working on the $8 million project on the west side of Browns Valley in northern Vacaville. The digging began in June, and work is expected to be completed by August 2006.

City project engineer James Loomis said that unlike other major water tanks in Vacaville, the McMurtry reservoir will mainly sit underground, with only two feet of concrete peering over the earthen surface.

The tank will have a diameter of 224 feet and a depth of 28 feet, Loomis said. It's the second 5-million-gallon tank in Vacaville, joining the Browns Valley Reservoir as the largest in the city.

Right now, workers from Gateway Pacific Contractors are finishing the digging of the massive hole. Much of the dirt from this site is being trucked to the Browns Valley Reservoir - just a short drive back toward Vacaville proper - to build up the berm hiding that white steel tank from view.

Loomis said the Browns Valley tank, which was built several decades ago, stands out among the surrounding grasslands. With the newly-available dirt and some oak trees, the tank will be mostly hidden.

"It worked out in that we needed a home for all this dirt," he said.

The McMurtry tank, by being below ground, will also deflect attention, he said.

Once the 18 wall sections, nine floor sections and four roof pieces are assembled, the tank will be fastened and finished.

Then, contractors will backfill the hole with some of the remaining dirt and landscape around it, Loomis said.

The staging area for the construction site is practically on top of where the planned Rogers Ranch subdivision is set to be raised in several years.

Loomis said plans for the McMurtry Reservoir began before development plans in the area moved forward.

Loomis said the developers of Rogers Ranch and two other nearby subdivisions - Reynolds Ranch and Knoll Creek - will be paying for a smaller 500,000-gallon tank near the McMurtry Reservoir. Design on that project is set to begin in a few months.

Tom Hall can be reached at

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