Standing tall: A giant in the water storage tank business
It’s not a stretch to say that Neel-Schaffer specializes in the design and construction management of water storage tanks.
In working with Fort Worth based Landmark Structures, the firm helped build the first elevated concrete pedestal and steel storage tank (now referred to in the industry as a composite elevated tank) in the United States in 1986 and has helped build nearly one new storage tank per year since.
The $2.53 million, 1-million gallon composite elevated tank that opened in Burleson in June 2014 is the 27th tank – 15 elevated and 12 on-ground – that Neel-Schaffer (or Cheatham & Associates, its predecessor company in Arlington, TX) has helped design and bring online since that first elevated tank was erected in Southlake, TX, nearly 30 years ago.
“It’s a niche market and we’ve built a strong resume in it,” said Derek Cheatham, Neel-Schaffer’s North Texas Manager. “Not every civil engineering firm has done these or has the people and the experience to do these kinds of projects.”
The composite elevated tank is a very innovative technology in the water tank industry. The pedestal is constructed from a maintenance-free high strength concrete instead of traditional steel materials. Steel materials require expensive coatings for protection from corrosion over the tank life. Re-coating a single tank will cost several hundred thousand dollars and is typically done every 10-15 years. In addition, the composite elevated tank greatly enhances safety: The tank construction methodology is significantly safer, and climbing activities for recurring inspections of structural steel and coating systems are reduced. The composite elevated tank is the client’s first choice of tank styles due to the decreased life cycle costs, and increased construction phase and operational safety benefits, not to mention the extremely appealing aesthetics.
Neel-Schaffer’s role in the Hidden Creek Parkway project in Burleson went well beyond design and construction management for the water tank. Like has happened with many growing suburbs of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Burleson’s population had outgrown its storage capacity, necessitating a new, larger tank that provides more storage and enhanced system pressure.
Neel-Schaffer helped the City of Burleson acquire the land for the tank and designed 460 feet of 12-inch and 580 feet of 8-inch water pipe to serve the tank. Neel-Schaffer’s services included the design of the site improvements package for the elevated tank, including an access road, site layout, grading, drainage, on-site detention, lighting, landscaping, screening walls, and security gates. The project also included surveying services, construction surveying, and professional services required for platting of the City property.