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Fortuna reservoir recently turned 10

Aug 06, 2023

Ten years ago, the City of Fortuna's water system was significantly improved when the new, two-million-gallon Stewart Street reservoir was connected.

The new large concrete reservoir replaced two much older water storage tanks on site and doubled the water storage capacity there. The one old round water tank was 85 years old, and the older rectangular water tank was 105 years old. Both were failing.

During a recent visit to the site, Fortuna City Manager Merritt Perry said, "The concrete tanks that were here were cracking and this site was very wet from those tanks." At the time the new reservoir was installed, Perry was the construction manager of the project and working for the firm GHD.

A ribbon cutting ceremony for the Stewart Street reservoir was held at the site on May 20, 2013.

Originally identified in a 2007 report prepared by Oscar Larsen & Associates, SHN engineers began designing the Stewart Street reservoir replacement project in 2008.

In 2009 neighborhood meetings were held, as the location of the city's reservoir is surrounded by a residential area. At the time, some of the neighbors were concerned about the appearance of the structure and how it might impact their view.

"We were able to add some landscaping that wasn't included in the original plan," Perry said. Another issue was the color of the tank itself. "The reservoir was originally planned to be painted, but instead of painting, we were able to add a grey colorant to the concrete that was applied to the exterior of the reservoir, which is a nice neutral color." Plus, he said, unlike some of the city's other water storage reservoirs, the Stewart Street structure does not require being drained and taken offline for maintenance.

"The only thing we will have to do in the future is clean out the sediment that naturally accumulates over time, at the bottom of the tank," Perry said. "We’re pleased to have a reservoir like this that is in service and that really doesn't take a lot to take care of," he added.

The Stewart Street reservoir is a steel reinforced concrete storage structure capable of withstanding a significant seismic event, which was evidenced when there were no issues whatsoever with the reservoir after the December 2022 earthquake.

Originally the installation of the Stewart Street reservoir and pump house was supposed to take place over a two-year period, but the decision was made to do it all in one construction season, to reduce the impact on neighbors and for construction-related reasons. The project began in April of 2012 and was completed in March 2013. Wahlund Construction was the contractor.

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