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Bertha gets new water tower

A crane positions the tank of Bertha's new water tower, which has a 50,000 gallon capacity. Construction finished Wednesday, but the tower will not become operational until next spring or summer, said Joeb Oyster, project engineer for Moore Engineering. Photo submitted by Joeb Oyster

Construction finished Wednesday on an all-new water tower for the city of Bertha, said Joeb Oyster, project engineer for Moore Engineering, the firm that designed the new structure. With a price tag of nearly $400,000, the new tower is part of an approximately $8 million public works overhaul of the city, which city officials said is mostly funded by grant money.

Oyster said the previous tower was constructed in 1929, and although portions had been renovated or replaced since then, the tower did not comply with OSHA regulations and had a number of leaking problems.

Oyster also said work began at the construction site Sept 29. but the new tower will not be completely operational until late spring/early summer of next year, after crews have had the chance to install the electrical system and coat the entire tower with a protective primer.

The new tower is only about 30 feet higher than the old one, but the added height combined with a more fully functional tank will mean increased water pressure for Bertha residents, Oyster said.

"If there's a fire in town, it will give a lot of the people higher pressure," he said.

Bertha Public Works Manager Adam Templin added better water quality to the list of improvements coming with the tower. He said the city will now use new treatment chemicals and other purifying methods to help ensure the Bertha water supply is clean. People in Bertha can expect those benefits to stick around awhile. Templin said the new tower had a projected lifespan of about 50 years.

"With proper maintenance, it'll last even longer than that," he said.

Bertha Mayor Dean Klebs said the crane used by construction firm Maguire Iron to build the new tower weighed 350 tons and helped make the tower's construction a marvel to behold.

"The average person has never seen anything like this up close," he said.

Klebs said although the city has chosen the basic colors of the new water tower, he doubts they will be able to afford a special logo to be painted on it, as several citizens have suggested.

"We are, at this point, within our budget on the whole project, but I don't want to spend money if we don't need to," he said.

Klebs said he would present the idea of a logo to the city council at an open meeting, but predicted council members will choose not to spend the extra money a logo would require.

"I would say as of right now it probably isn't going to happen unless somebody comes forward with a lot of money," he said.