By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
LONGPORT – The blue water tower that smiles down on the borough completed its refurbishment last week. The tower needed some structural repairs, has been painted inside and out, and the smile returned to the structure, which ensures water pressure is adequate for utility rate payers.
The project was funded through a $1.6 million utility bond ordinance approved in 2022. The bond also included repairs to the well house that pumps fresh water into the system.
The project was put out to bid twice, and the borough awarded a $875,700 contract to Allied Painting, Inc. of Cherry Hill.
The first round of bidding produced five offers, but the lowest bidder had a material defect in its proposal, and all the bids exceeded the engineer’s estimate of the cost. A second round of bidding produced the same material defect in the low bidder’s offer, and the contract was awarded to Allied, the second-lowest bidder.
Residents endured some inconveniences during the project and some complained of low water pressure. The tower had to be completely drained for a time to allow the interior work to proceed, and when the service transitioned to direct flow from the plant, a homeowner had some damage to their pipes.
Early March winds wreaked havoc on the containment system that protected workers and area homes. Tarps blew off from the top of the water tower and had to be completely removed. Exterior work temporarily halted until the March winds died down and the containment system was reinstalled.
Nevertheless, the work was completed nearly on schedule during the off-season when water usage is much lower than in the summer months when thousands of people flock to the shore.
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