Location is key for water tower

Elevation, proximity to pipeline, aesthetics are important factors

November 05, 1999|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

Hampstead's growth, especially in its north end, has the town planning a water tower and looking for a place to build it.

Details on the need for the tower and its possible location will be presented at a meeting at 7: 30 p.m. Monday in Town Hall, 1034 S. Carroll St.

"No one thinks we don't need a water tower," said Town Manager Kenneth Decker. "They just think we should put it where they won't see it."

That won't be possible, he said. The whole point of the tower is its elevation, which provides the pressure to send adequate amounts of water into homes and businesses, Decker said.

The north end of town is also at a higher elevation than farther south, he said. The town is looking at about a half-dozen pieces of land for the tower.

Decker declined to say which locations the town is scouting, but expected to have details at Monday's meeting.

He said location factors include proximity to existing pipes and the elevation -- the higher the spot, the better flow and pressure will be.

The Town Council could vote on a site as early as Tuesday, at its regular meeting. The project is expected to cost about $1 million, Decker said, paid for through a bond sale.

The 400,000-gallon tower would be about 150 feet high, he said, and made of metal, similar to the tower next to North Carroll High School, which has the school's panther mascot painted on its side. That tower holds 500,000 gallons and was built in 1975, Decker said. The only other tower in town is a 100,000-gallon structure built in the 1930s on Hampstead's east side.

Water towers store water after it has been pumped from wells and treated, and before it is routed to water mains and homes, Decker said.

Decker said residents have been wondering where the tower will go and whether it will be visible from their homes. Town officials are sensitive to concerns about aesthetics, he said.

"We don't think it is [unsightly]," Decker said of the proposed tower. "We think a water tower is a marvel of engineering. But obviously, not everyone feels the same way."

The town has been planning the tower in consultation with engineers, and under the guidance of Councilman Lawrence Hentz, an environmental engineer whose specialty is water.

"We couldn't afford Larry if he wasn't elected," said Decker. "He's a nationally recognized individual who's an expert. He's dedicated a tremendous amount of personal time to the town."

Before Hentz, Hampstead's water-watcher was William Pearson, a longtime councilman who was also an inventor.

Pearson, who died last year at age 89, held 40 patents on mechanical inventions, including the Pumpminder, a device he invented and patented in the mid-1970s to monitor water levels in storage tanks and turn pumps on and off.

Pumpminders are in use for towers in Hampstead; Manchester; Westminster; Binghamton, N.Y.; and California. Decker said Pearson's other inventions are also in use. Because they are mechanical and not computerized, the town can count on no Y2K interruption in water service, he said.

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