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City of Santa Cruz's Bay Street Reservoir Replacement Project marks key milestone by adding new tank to water system
Historical facility plays a critical role in the city's water supply system
Posted Date: 10/24/2013 2:00 PM
Contact: Eileen Cross, 831.676.7090 

The City of Santa Cruz announced today the Bay Street Reservoir replacement project has reached a key milestone with the completion of the first of two new, 6-million-gallon tanks. The City officially added the new tank to the water system with a small celebration thanking neighborhood residents for their patience during the long construction process.

In 2007, the old Bay Street Reservoir was demolished. By August 2008, four 1.5-million-gallon temporary tanks were installed on the property, while work began on design and construction of two 6-million-gallon permanent replacement tanks. Construction for the second tank will begin in fall 2013 and is expected to go into service by the end of 2014.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of the Bay Street facility,” said Linette Almond, interim Water Director. “There are three main drinking water storage facilities that are part of a ‘gravity zone system’ that helps regulate the flow of water. These tanks also provide critical back up during emergencies. Of the three tanks serving the system, the Bay Street tanks are the largest and most important to managing the system.”

History of the Bay Street Reservoir
1924 Construction Bay Street Reservoir

In 1924, construction broke ground on a 35-million-gallon water reservoir to serve the residents of the City of Santa Cruz. Like most reservoirs of its time, the Bay Street Reservoir was open air, and was fed by raw water from North Coast sources. By the 1970s, the reservoir had been converted to store treated water so a roof was installed to comply with new state surface water treatment regulations.

The massive wooden truss that supported the roof experienced ongoing problems from wind and deterioration. A study was done to determine the best course to take. The study identified three critical issues for the Bay Street Reservoir: 1) its sheer size meant that the age of the treated water in the reservoir could become excessive, allowing for the potential of water quality to degrade; 2) the entire roof needed to be replaced; and 3) the reservoir needed other major modifications. The study concluded that the cost to make the necessary modifications would exceed the cost of total replacement, and would leave the community dependent upon a structure not designed or constructed to modern standards.

After another section of the roof failed in late 2006, the City Council approved demolition of the existing reservoir and installation of temporary storage tanks at the site while a permanent replacement could be made.
2013 Bay Street Reservoir Replacement Project