THE MUNSEY PARK ELEVATED WATER STORAGE
TANK REPLACEMENT PROJECT
The Board of Commissioners presented its plans to the public
to replace the elevated storage tank, located on a 3-acre site in Munsey Park,
which was constructed in 1929 and is now at the end of its useful life. The
elevated storage tank is essential, District-wide, for a reliable water supply
during power outages, to provide system wide pressure control, and to provide
firefighters with instantaneous water supply to protect people and property
throughout the District. These are the questions and answers that were addressed
at the April 8th meeting.
Questions Posed at April 8, 2014 Public Meeting, and Answers
1. Is the Water District still considering ground level water storage as a
possible solution to its stated need to replace the elevated water storage tank
at the Munsey Park site?
Response: While the District has not made a final
decision, after carefully reviewing all feasible alternatives for an extended
period of time, the District expects to approve elevated storage to replace the
existing elevated storage. The District’s potable water system is comprised of
wells, treatment plants, ground storage tanks, booster pump stations, miles of
water mains, and elevated storage tanks. Each of these different assets is
critical to our ability to supply potable water and water for fire needs on a
daily basis and during emergency conditions. Water District Superintendent Paul
Schrader, a licensed engineer, and our consulting engineers, H2M, experts in
water system infrastructure, strongly support replacement of the existing
elevated storage tank with a new elevated storage tank because it provides
benefits to our water delivery ability that ground storage does not.
See the H2M
report for additional detail.
2. Are there any positive aspects to ground storage?
: Ground storage is a useful and important part of the Water District’s
existing system. It works in conjunction with the other assets, including the
elevated water storage. A small number of people who spoke at the April 8, 2014
public meeting suggested that they would prefer the aesthetics of ground storage
over the elevated storage at the Munsey Park site. We recognize that aesthetics
can be a subjective matter. Because regulations prohibit below-grade storage,
ground storage would be at ground level. In order to contain 750,000 gallons, a
significantly sized, two-story building would need to be constructed to contain
the water. In addition, a separate building containing pumping equipment and
generators would be required. The abutting neighbors would see those buildings
at ground level from their rear yards and from the windows of their homes. Some
of those neighbors who spoke at the meeting expressed a preference for ground
storage on aesthetic grounds. Ground storage certainly is an effective means by
which potable water can be stored within the District – the District now
maintains, and will continue to maintain, ground storage. However, the District
infrastructure, which benefits the entire District, would suffer from the loss
of certain attributes that are available from elevated storage but not ground
storage. Those attributes, which are more clearly explained in the H2M report,
include (i) instantaneous emergency water supply for firefighting and main
breaks, available without the need for pumps to be turned on and off because
supply is gravity-powered; (ii) system-wide pressure stabilization and relief
from surges that can result when pumps are turned on and off; (iii) operational
flexibility and efficiency; and (iv); reduced energy costs. The District’s final
decision will weigh whatever aesthetic benefits might be perceived by property
owners in close proximity to the structure against the benefits to the entire
District by preserving the open water supply system with the benefits described,
that are available only through elevated storage.
3. Has the District considered alternatives to tank replacement?
: The District has considered but rejected the possibility of repairing
and rehabilitating the existing tank, which has reached the end of its useful
life, and will require increasingly frequent and more expensive repairs to
maintain safety, none of which will prevent the inevitable need in the
foreseeable future to replace the tank.
4. Has the District considered alternate sites for the replacement storage?
: The value of elevated water storage is a function of elevation.
Location of the elevated water storage tank is dictated by ground elevation in
relation to mean sea level. The Munsey Park site, which is at a high elevation
relative to surrounding area, is an optimum location for elevated water storage.
By way of comparison, an elevated water storage tank, if constructed on East
Shore Road, Manhasset, would have to be 332 feet high in order to have the same
beneficial effects as the existing 160 foot tank in Munsey Park. Moreover, the
Munsey Park site has housed elevated water storage for over 80 years. Not only
does that mean that the site is known to all as a site with an elevated water
storage tank, but it also means that the District water main infrastructure
feeding the tank has been installed and maintained in its current locations to
tie into the existing site. The costs to locate an alternative site, to acquire
an alternative site, to engage in environmental analysis for a new water storage
tank (a much different proposition than is needed to replace an existing
elevated tank), and to construct new water main infrastructure to accommodate a
new site, makes pursuit of an alternate location not feasible or practical.
5. Will the elevated tank provide benefits only to the immediate community
surrounding the site, or will the benefits extend throughout the District?
: The benefits of the elevated storage will benefit the entire District
water supply system, not only the residents and the community surrounding the
6. Does the project comply with the New York State Environmental Quality Review
Act (“SEQRA”), and has the District prepared an environmental assessment form?
: Replacement of an existing elevated water storage tank with a new
elevated water storage tank is exempt from SEQRA because it is categorized by
that law and applicable regulations as a “Type II” action, which by definition
will not significantly adversely impact the environmental. It qualifies as
exempt because it is the replacement of a structure or facility in kind on the
same site. Even though the project is exempt from analysis under SEQRA, the
District Board determined to have its consulting engineers, H2M, prepare a long
environmental assessment form (“LEAF”), a step not required for Type II actions,
but one that the Board thought would be helpful to provide both the Board, its
staff, its consultants, and the public as much information as possible. The
is available on our website. It confirms the absence of any significant adverse
impact upon the environment for purposes of SEQRA.
7. How do the projected capital costs, and operation and maintenance costs
associated with the proposed elevated water storage tank compare with those for
a ground storage facility?
: An elevated water storage tank will need to be painted approximately
every 15 years. A Ground storage tank and booster station also involves
operation and maintenance costs that are not shared by an elevated water storage
tank. A summary comparison:
|Elevated Water Storage Tank
||Ground Water Storage Tank
|Capital Cost for 750,000 gallon elevated tank – $3,200,000
||Capital Cost for 750,000 gallon ground storage tank – $4,070,000
|Present value of 30 years of operation and maintenance costs – $1,382,973
||Present value of 30 years of operation and maintenance costs – $1,804,634
|Total cost for elevated tank – $4,582,973
||Total cost for ground storage tank – $5,874,634
For a more detailed comparison,
8. Is the project subject to local building and zoning rules?
: The Water District’s storage tank project is exempt from local
building and zoning regulations. However, the project must be approved by the
Nassau County Department of Health, both before the project begins, and also
before the completed project is entered into service. The tank and footings will
be designed by licensed professional engineers, in accordance with current New
York State Fire Prevention and Building Code requirements, and all construction
will be performed by experienced and qualified contractors who will be selected
through the competitive bidding process required by law.
9. How will the Board determine whether soil at the site has the capacity to
support the contemplated structure?
: The District has engaged a licensed professional geotechnical engineer
to analyze and report to the District on the capacity of the soil at the site to
support the contemplated structure. The geo-technical engineer’s report will
include the analysis of soil borings. The District retained a firm to obtain
those soil borings just last month. While we do not yet have a final report from
the geo-technical engineers, the soil borings reflect sand and gravel to a depth
of 100 feet. We have been advised that the soil type is ideal for the structure
proposed. The results of the geo-technical engineer’s report will be utilized by
the engineers to design the foundation for the structure.
10. Are there any applicable laws or regulations that restrict the proximity of
an elevated water storage tank to nearby homes?
: There are no laws, rules or regulations that prohibit construction of
the tank in this location or in the contemplated proximity to existing
residential homes surrounding the site.
11. Does the Water District sell water to other water suppliers?
: The Water District has a water supply agreement with the Village of Plandome under which the Water District supplies water to that Village. The
District has been supplying water to that Village under agreement for over 20
years, in amounts and at times that have been consistent throughout that period.
We contemplate providing water in a similar manner to the Village going forward.
The District has no additional plans to supply water to any other neighboring
water suppliers. However, the District does maintain emergency interconnections,
in accordance with Nassau County Department of Health Regulations, with other
abutting public water suppliers. The District does not supply water to other
suppliers, even on an emergency basis, if doing so jeopardizes the safety of the
District’s system available to its residents.
12. How and when will the Water District make its final determination with
respect to the project?
: The Board of Commissioners of the Water District will adopt a
resolution at an up-coming meeting to solicit bids pursuant to the competitive
bidding laws of the State of New York for the project that it deems to be in the
best interests of all District residents. It will direct its engineer to prepare
the specifications and contract documents for the project selected. Based upon
all information received to date, the District expects that decision to be the
elevated water storage replacement.
After the District receives and analyzes all bids, the Board will adopt a
resolution awarding the project to a qualified bidder, provided that the Board
determines that all elements of the bid are in the best interests of the
District. After the bid is awarded, the successful bidder will submit requisite
bonds and insurance, execute the contract, and be given a starting date for the
13. What is the contemplated time for project completion?
: The Water District expects the project to be completed within 18
months after the award of the contract.
THE ELEVATED ADVANTAGE
An elevated water storage tank has the following advantages
over a ground storage tank and booster pump station.
Instantaneous Emergency Water supply for Fire Fighting and
· System Wide Pressure Stabilization and Surge
· Increased Operational Flexibility & Efficiency
· Gravity Powered Emergency Supply
· Decreased Power Costs
Floating storage provides clear advantages to the
operation of the Manhasset-Lakeville Water District’s System,
which are simply not available with ground storage. The
District has recognized the inherent importance of the Munsey
Park Elevated Tank as a critical piece of our water system’s
infrastructure and has therefore resolved that it must be
Rendering of Proposed Tank next to
the Existing Tank
MLWD Superintendent’s Open Letter Regarding
Elevated Water Storage Tank Replacement
I am Superintendent of the Manhasset-Lakeville Water District,
a licensed professional engineer, and New York State
Department of Health certified water treatment plant operator.
I am in responsible charge of the Water District’s day-to-day
operations that provide safe, reliable potable water service
to all Water District residents, which is crucial to the
health and safety of the communities we serve.
District covers portions of the Town of North Hempstead along
with all or portions of the following Villages: Plandome
Manor, Plandome Heights, Flower Hill, Munsey Park, North
Hills, New Hyde Park, Lake Success, Great Neck Plaza, Russell
Gardens, and Thomaston. We also provide water by contract to
the Village of Plandome.
Water: we drink it, bathe in it, flush the toilet with it,
maintain our landscapes, fight fires. Humanity depends upon
it, but most people take it for granted. You open the faucet
and water appears, every time, all you want, for less than a
penny per gallon. This does not happen through magic. It
happens because of sound planning and engineering. The
coordinated operation of all of our system components enables
your Water District to provide reliable uninterrupted water
Our water system is comprised of wells,
treatment plants, ground storage tanks, elevated storage
tanks, transmission water mains, and distribution water mains.
Our Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) network
provides 24 hour remote monitoring of the water system.
Over the past twenty years, the District has developed,
implemented and updated an ongoing capital improvement program
for your supply system. This work has included new wells,
elevated tank maintenance, rehabilitating pumping stations,
hydrant replacements, and miles of water main replacements and
extensions. This year our improvement program includes the
replacement of our elevated storage tank located in Munsey
Our elevated storage tanks are critical to our
ability to provide water service. Have you ever lost electric
power? What about cable TV or phone service? Now, try to
recall the last time you lost your water service. Through
winter storms, through Hurricane Sandy, through the great
black-out of August 2003, your water service was
uninterrupted. Imagine not being able to flush your toilet for
ten days during Sandy!
What makes our system withstand
power outages is our elevated storage tanks. When power is
lost, our pumps turn off. But the water in the elevated tanks
then falls by gravity into the distribution system to supply
water, while we work to bring our back-up power supplies on
line, until regular power is finally restored.
elevated tanks are also critical for fire protection and for
sanitary concerns. When there is a fire or a main break, large
quantities of water must be available instantaneously. If the
elevated tanks were not available, the pressure drop during a
main break or fire fighting could be so dramatic that negative
pressure could develop in the water mains, which could suck
tainted water into the distribution system and threaten the
safety of our supply.
Elevated storage also regulates
pressure throughout the entire distribution system. The water
levels in our elevated tanks rise and fall with system demand.
During peak demand when so many sprinklers are on, water from
the elevated tanks falls into the system. As the sprinklers
turn off, the water rises back into the tank. During this
cycle our large pumps turn on to meet the demand and then off
as the demand eases. The tanks cushion the effects of the
pumps coming on and off, preventing large pressure
None of those benefits of elevated
storage can be replicated as effectively with ground storage
and booster pumps. Replacing elevated storage with booster
pumps/ground storage will result in additional power costs for
double pumping water, once into the tank and once out. The
water supplied by the pumps will not be instantaneous. There
are multiple points of failure in a booster station: pumps
break, electrical and computer controls, power supply, backup
power supply. And once again, booster pumps cannot provide the
equivalent operational storage and pressure control function.
There are approximately a dozen homes that abut our Munsey
Park elevated tank site. Since 1929, that site has housed the
elevated tank. Understandably, those neighbors would love to
see the existing tank come down and not be replaced. Some have
suggested converting the site to ground storage.
understand that elimination of the tank would provide obvious
aesthetic improvement for those neighbors. However, we doubt
that they would actually be happy with replacement with ground
storage, which would likely be more intrusive for those
neighbors than a replacement elevated tank. Ground storage
would mean that storage now above the tree tops would be on
the ground (Health Department regulations prohibit underground
storage structures), and industrial-looking buildings and
increased noise from pumps and generators would be right next
door to those homes.
But, considering what ground
storage might look like is misleading and an academic
exercise. Eliminating elevated storage, or replacing it with
ground storage, is simply not feasible. The Water District
Board of Commissioners, who you’ve elected to run the
District, and your Superintendent, along with our consulting
engineers, cannot neglect our duty to do the right thing for
the District. We cannot in good conscience accept an inferior
design that denies all forty three thousand District
inhabitants the benefits of elevated storage that I’ve
described, to address the aesthetic concerns of a few of our
Engineers have recognized the central of
gravity for water systems for centuries. Gravity was integral
to the two greatest water systems ever contemplated by man,
the Roman Empire’s and New York City’s aqueduct systems. Our
elevated storage provides foolproof instantaneous emergency
and operational storage through the use of gravity, without
any power or operational costs. While technological advances
in many areas have radically changed our lives for the better,
we have yet to improve upon gravity in the context of water
supply. The community is now weighing the benefits of elevated
storage against its visual impact. I say beauty is in the eye
of the beholder.
To learn more about this project, read:
For questions or concerns regarding the Munsey Tank
Replacement Project, please email our superintendent