The Cambrian

New water tank moving into place on Lodge Hill

Workers roll a tank into place Tuesday as they prepare to replace the Fiscalini Water Tank on Lodge Hill.
Workers roll a tank into place Tuesday as they prepare to replace the Fiscalini Water Tank on Lodge Hill.

The Cambria Community Services District’s $483,000 project to replace the Fiscalini Water Tank has begun.

Early on Tuesday, July 12, workers moved four 10,000-gallon temporary water-storage tanks to a site south of Cambria. After the tanks are disinfected and hooked into the system, Crosno Construction crews will demolish and remove an aging 320,000-gallon tank and replace it with a brand new tank of the same size. The new tank will be built on the site that’s slightly southwest of the Top of the World neighborhood on Lodge Hill.

According to Crosno’s Dan Smith and Don Waldrum of Faulkner Trucking in Tulare, each of the large, cylindrical temporary tanks is about 13.33 feet tall and weighs approximately 1,700 pounds.

Smith, Waldrum and Rob Bond of Crosno used a sturdy rented forklift (with extremely efficient brakes), brute strength and gravity to roll each tank off the channelized trailer onto the somewhat hilly intersection of Pineridge Drive and Ellis Avenue.

The procedure, done one tank at a time, was tricky, because the immediately adjacent section of Pineridge is not only steep downhill, it’s curvy.

The specter of a tank rolling down the hill was a concern for observers as the men repeated the process four times, each time using the forklift to upright the tank, then move it to a holding spot along Ellis.

At one point, when the second tank balked at being put on end, Bond said to his coworkers, “There’s no easy way to do this,” which seemed an apt description of the entire process.

Their work was complicated further by the waste collection that happens early every Tuesday in that neighborhood. Three large collection trucks (garbage, recycling and greenwaste) had to maneuver around the standing tanks and the “large load” trailer truck. Waldrum moved his rig several times to let the collection trucks squeeze by into and out of the area.

Later, Smith used the forklift to transport each tank individually through (or over) two sets of gates, past pine trees and poison oak and up the hill to the tank site that’s surrounded by David Fiscalini’s ranchland.

The project

According to an email interview with Judy Bellis of Advantage Technical Services (which was awarded the contract for the project on April 28), crews will work four 10-hour days each week, from about 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The new welded tank will have improved earthquake-design features that will help assure that there is water for drinking and fire prevention” following a quake. She and CCSD officials have said that the new tank also should last longer than the current bolted tank has.

Advantage evaluated the tank in 2015, determining that it needed to be replaced immediately because of erosion and deterioration.

One issue for the district, Fiscalini and area residents has been fire prevention.

Bellis said, “The district is very serious about fire prevention. We met with Mr. Fiscalini yesterday. We are working to get permission to use sprinklers around the area, and we are looking at options for other fire-prevention measures. The contractor will have a tank trailer with a water pump on-site among other firefighting and fire prevention measures listed in the fire plan.”

The Cambrian left a message July 12 for Fiscalini, but hadn’t received a reply by press deadline.

That three-page, 17-point plan, submitted June 16 by Fire Chief William Hollingsworth, includes special requirements when crews are welding, grinding or doing any other activities that could start a fire or send sparks into the adjacent field, especially during windy weather or when the crew is working high up on the tank.

Cambria Fire Department will notify Crosno of hazardous weather conditions, and additional requirements will be triggered. In response, Crosno must give the department two days notice before working on the top section and roof of the new permanent tank.

According to the plan, a Fire Department vehicle and personnel may stand by when “hot work” is being done, especially during fire-prone weather conditions.