DVIDS – News – USAG-KA Water Plant Refurbishment Strengthens Garrison Utilities


U.S. Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll Command Sgt. Major Ismael Ortega joined staff at the Kwajalein Water Plant on April 23, 2022 to commemorate the refurbishment of Treated Water Storage Tank 2.

The million-gallon drinking water tank holds the water Garrison residents need for daily use in kitchens, homes and offices. The completion of the project represents a long-term saving for the garrison.

Clad in a slate gray epoxy sheath, the modernized treated water storage tank contrasts sharply with the bare concrete of the neighboring tanks.

The tank was built by the US Navy in the 1950s. Over the years it suffered from corrosion and spalling. As USAG-KA requires 140,000 gallons of potable water per day for kitchens, showers, cooking, laundry, and potable water, losing tank functionality would represent an incalculable failure.

The refurbishment, which began in August 2021, will extend the useful life of the facility, prevent leaks and provide system redundancy to facilitate refurbishment work on other vintage tanks. The process was completed at a fraction of the cost of new tank construction.

“With the renovation, the USAG-KA Public Works Department coordinated the first-ever “C” contract for the $2.5 million project through the 413th Contract Support Brigade in Hawaii to provide additional capacity beyond LOGCAP,” said Derek, Director of USAG-KA DPW. Miller. “The initiative was a follow-up to the initial pilot demonstration project, which provided the effectiveness of carbon fiber polymer reinforcement wraps in repairing severely degraded concrete.”

Concrete restoration crews from Delta Structural Technology, a subcontractor to the main contractor, Cascade Solutions, first identified the compromised areas in the weathered walls of the concrete tank. After chipping them away and removing the old rebar, new concrete was poured in place. Next, the team wrapped the interior walls in woven fiberglass impregnated with epoxy and added a joint membrane on the floor of the tank before wrapping the exterior with fine carbon fiber, said the project supervisor, Jesus Murillo.

Restoration specialist Blake Steele provided a small sample of the carbon fiber material used in the project: a lightweight skein of black fiber wrapped in delicate strips of white yarn.

Dipped in epoxy, once applied to the structure, the lightweight carbon fiber sheets are designed to replace old rebar and create a strong structure that will last for many years to come in Kwajalein’s harsh environment. It sticks to most objects, Steele said, making workplace safety a top priority.

“When we’re working with this, we wear protective gear,” Steele said. “After a while it binds and sticks to everything, if you’re not careful.”

Even so, Steele’s teammates agreed that the hardest part of the job wasn’t the fiber packing: it was waiting for the periodic Kwajalein rains to stop.

Kwajalein Atoll represents the farthest place from home that members of the renovation team have traveled. As a result of this project, they look forward to returning to continue restoring other storage tanks at the Kwajalein Water Plant.

Murillo said the completion of the reservoir for the community was a satisfying achievement. The refurbished tank is also a welcome sight for USAG-KA environmental engineer Gary Hutchinson.

“It looks so much better,” Hutchinson said.

Date taken: 30.04.2022
Date posted: 05.10.2022 21:03
Story ID: 420428
Location: MH

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