Second water tower goes up as Ireland expands

Photos by Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald
Avon-based Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors, LLC employee Ed Mansfield of Arkansas worked on the construction of a water tower on Division Road on Tuesday morning. The 400,000 gallon tank will service Ireland area customers and construction should be complete in about six weeks.


IRELAND — A new, 400,000-gallon water tower is going up on Division Road near 450 West.

Ireland Utilities began construction on the tower in the spring. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management informed the utility a few years ago that a new tank would be necessary to meet the growing needs of the area as land is developed into subdivisions.

According to state mandates, Ireland’s water utility must have enough water stored for two days of service in case of emergency.

The new water tower will bring the storage capacity up to 475,000 gallons versus the 75,000 gallons the current water tower in Ireland holds on its own. Two days of service require 500,000 gallons.

“We’re going to be a little bit short, but nothing major,” said Andy Hulsman, Ireland Utilities board president.

Planning for the project began in 2015 when the utility thought to place the tower on land south of State Road 56 at the southern end of Skyview Drive on Jasper’s west side. Several area citizens, however, expressed concern that the tower would devalue their land, and the utility chose to look for a different place. They settled on a patch of land, owned by the Ireland water utility, in the rural area near the intersection of Division Road and 450 West. Hulsman said the area is far enough into the country to not cause a problem for residents, but close enough to customers to be feasible for service. 

The project is expected to cost $2 million and will be paid for using a loan from a local bank and money from the utility’s savings account, Hulsman said.

The department has been steadily raising rates each year in anticipation of the project. Hulsman expects rates to continue to increase a little bit annually to cover general maintenance costs.

“We like to look ahead a bit,” Hulsman said.

When the project is finished, water lines will connect the new tower to the old tower in Ireland. Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors of Avon is installing the tower, but installation of the water lines is yet to be bid out. Hulsman said they plan to put the water lines portion out to local contractors to bid.

The water tower is the end of several years of improvements to Ireland’s water system ­— totalling about $4 million — that began with installing wider water lines in some areas in 2013. At that time, Midwest Engineers of Loogootee said the new system would need to accommodate a 10 percent growth annually, based on subdivision developments in and around Ireland. The water utility currently serves 1,600 customers.

Once the water tower is completed this fall, there are smaller projects Midwest Engineers identified that the utility could turn its attention to, but there’s no guarantee that work will start on those right away, Hulsman said.

“We’ve got to see where we stand financially before we add other stuff,” he said.

Ronnie Burgess of Louisiana welded the inside of the water tower on Tuesday morning.
Burgess stood next to a cylinder that will be placed on top of the water tower. The 400,000 gallon tank will service Ireland customers and construction should be complete in about six weeks.
The water tower is the end of several years of improvements to Ireland’s water system ­— totalling about $4 million.

More on