If you’ve spent any time looking at the Port of Vancouver USA skyline, you may have noticed things look a little different lately. That’s because crews with port contractor Rotschy Inc. and crane subcontractor NessCampbell removed a 120-foot, 100,000-gallon water tower that has stood amongst the tallest structures in Clark County for nearly 90 years.

Crews removed the 89-year-old water tank in early 2018

On March 17, a team of more than 20 professionals gathered at the east end of port property with two massive cranes to begin the process of taking down the water tower. After a pre-activity safety meeting, crews began preparing the top part of the tank for rigging. This included creating holes in the top and bottom of the structure to allow rigging to be passed through the tank and connected at support locations. Once the tank was secure, crews cut the supports and hoisted the tank off its legs. The center structure and legs were cut into pieces before being moved by crane to nearby port tenant Pacific Coast Shredding, where the entire structure would eventually be shredded for recycling.

The operation took months of planning and coordination to minimize disruptions to tenants and to ensure the massive structure was taken down in the safest, most efficient manner possible. The entire process, from safety meetings in the morning to final placement of the structure in the evening, took about 12 hours to complete.

Although the water tower has been removed, the project is not quite complete. The port’s water system is large and complex, and removal of the high tank was just one more step in upgrading the entire system. Crews have completed excavation for the new 250,000-gallon at-grade tank’s foundation, relocated utilities and assembled the new tank. Bringing a new tank into the system requires testing, pressurization, upgrading existing wells and integration of a new pump control system, which are all in progress. The complete, new water system should be functional later this summer.