Tampa Bay reservoir $129 million renovation ramping up - WNCN: News, Weather

Tampa Bay reservoir $129 million renovation ramping up

Posted: Updated:
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Tampa Bay Water's regional reservoir is just shy of 8 years old and heavy machinery is now ripping apart its inner walls to begin the process of repairing and preventing widespread cracking.

In February, Kiewit Infrastructure Group's hydraulic hammers began the enormous task of breaking up the soil cement lining the 5 miles of the Bill Young Regional Reservoir's interior walls.

Large excavators continue ripping up the soil cement, dozers push it down the dam's steep banks and enormous dump trucks haul it off.

"It's a lot of work," Tampa Bay Water's engineering support manager, Jonathan Kennedy said.

The fix, as it is called, requires gutting the interior walls, removing the soil cement, the dirt below it, called the soil wedge, and a PVC geomembrane that lines the walls preventing seepage.

"In many ways this is like disassembling a layer cake and there's a lot of work to get down to the core before they can start the reconstruction," Kennedy said.

The reconstruction begins with Kiewit installing a drainage system. A new geomembrane which is being made in Spain, will be added, along with a new soil wedge and thicker, stronger soil cement.

"It's as though you had a car engine with a leaking gasket and the gasket itself is a relatively minor repair but you have to disassemble the engine in order to get to it," Kennedy added.

The work will keep the reservoir, which supplies roughly half of the drinking water for the Tampa bay community, off line at least until the end of the summer of 2014. The reservoir renovation will cost water customers in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties $129 million dollars.

An 8 On Your Side investigation revealed in 2007 widespread cracking of the reservoir's soil cement. Video shot from Eagle 8 showed crews attempting repairs by pumping a cement-grout mixture into the cracking soil cement. Some of the cracks were 300 feet long.

At the time Tampa Bay Water project manager Amanda Rice indicated the repairs were nothing out of the ordinary.

"This is a route maintenance. Activity like this is conducted at all Tampa Bay Water facilities," Rice said.

The cracking turned out to be anything but routine. It spread and became worse. Gaps several inches wide and hundreds of feet long continued forming.

Repairs did not hold.

A portion of the soil cement lining the south wall collapsed. Tampa Bay Water insists the cracking never threatened the integrity of the reservoir's walls but did limit its ability to hold water.

At full capacity the reservoir holds 15.5 billion gallons of water.

Tampa Bay Water spent millions on repairs, investigating the cause and legal bills.

It determined the cracking was caused by water that became trapped in the soil wedge. During draw downs, water pressure would build up behind the soil cement and crack it.

The agency sued designer HDR Inc in federal court in 2012, claiming the company's reservoir design was flawed. A jury disagreed, saddling Tampa Bay Water with the cost of repairs.

"It's a $129 million dollar project which translates into a little over a dollar a month on the average bill," Kennedy said.

Kiewit is ramping up construction at the reservoir. It plans to have about 150 workers on site, working two shifts.

In order to increase efficiency, different stages of work will be going on in several areas of the facility.

Kennedy says Tampa Bay Water is shooting to put the reservoir back into partial service by the end of the summer of 2014.

"In order to do that (Kiewit's) going to be finishing the project from the bottom up so that we can get permission to put some water in the lower reaches while it finishes the construction of the upper reaches," he said.

Kennedy hopes to put about 8 billion gallons of water in the reservoir at that time, which would supply up to 90 million gallons of water a day to customers.

"The existing facility does not have a drain in its system, that was left out of the design, and by putting the drain into this design, we know that this project will be successful when it's complete," Kennedy said.

  • NewsMore>>

  • SWAT team invades wrong house, Sarasota woman files lawsuit

    SWAT team invades wrong house, Sarasota woman files lawsuit

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 2:23 PM EDT2014-07-30 18:23:35 GMT
    Louise Goldsberry shows where she spotted the swat team before they entered her home Louise Goldsberry shows where she spotted the swat team before they entered her home
    In July 2013, Louise Goldsberry was washing dishes in her Sarasota apartment when she saw a camouflaged man with a large weapon outside her window.
    In July 2013, Louise Goldsberry was washing dishes in her Sarasota apartment when she saw a camouflaged man with a large weapon outside her window.
  • Pinellas Health Dept. warns of parasitic disease

    Pinellas Health Dept. warns of parasitic disease

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 2:12 PM EDT2014-07-30 18:12:18 GMT
    Wikimedia Commons photo credit Ukko.deWikimedia Commons photo credit Ukko.de
    The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County is asking for the public's help to prevent the spread of Cryptosporidiosis, a disease that spreads easily in households, child-care settings and through swimming in contaminated water.
    The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County is asking for the public's help to prevent the spread of Cryptosporidiosis, a disease that spreads easily in households, child-care settings and through swimming in contaminated water.
  • Florida's CFO: Insurance customers entitled to refunds

    Florida's CFO: Insurance customers entitled to refunds

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:37 PM EDT2014-07-30 16:37:47 GMT
    Consumers who bought insurance plans but could not use them in the early days of the Affordable Care Act rollout should be able to get a refund, Florida’s chief financial officer told News Channel 8. Some customers who signed up for plans and paid premiums didn’t initially receive ID cards or numbers from insurance company Florida Blue in early 2014.
    Consumers who bought insurance plans but could not use them in the early days of the Affordable Care Act rollout should be able to get a refund, Florida’s chief financial officer told News Channel 8. Some customers who signed up for plans and paid premiums didn’t initially receive ID cards or numbers from insurance company Florida Blue in early 2014.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 8 ways to save on groceries without coupons

    8 ways to save on groceries without coupons

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:07 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:07:49 GMT
    Wikimedia Commons photo by Eja2kWikimedia Commons photo by Eja2k
    ShopSmart magazine sent undercover shoppers through grocery store aisles and discovered plenty of ways to lower your grocery bill.
    ShopSmart magazine sent undercover shoppers through grocery store aisles and discovered plenty of ways to lower your grocery bill.
  • Dramatic doggie makeovers put new face to pet adoption

    Dramatic doggie makeovers put new face to pet adoption

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:14 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:14:31 GMT
    What a difference a bath can make! Millions of shelter dogs across the United States just need a little bit of grooming and TLC in order to shine, as evidenced by these photos.
    What a difference a bath can make! Millions of shelter dogs across the United States just need a little bit of grooming and TLC in order to shine, as evidenced by these photos.
  • Couple's selfie photobombed by lightning bolt

    Couple's selfie photobombed by lightning bolt

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:56 AM EDT2014-07-29 15:56:28 GMT
    A couple vacationing in Mexico was almost hit by lightning, a few sources including Washington Post reported Tuesday.
    A couple vacationing in Mexico was almost hit by lightning, a few sources including Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.