Base in place, Cowley water tower soon to rise

The base is in place, and residents of Cowley will soon see a new giant reaching for the sky in the form of a new 500,000-gallon water tower that will serve local residents for years to come.

Work on the water tower’s base began about three weeks ago, Mayor Joel Peterson said, as general contractor JR Civil of Sheridan began work on the base, first pouring a series of 12 piers that are 30 feet long and 36 inches wide, placed in a circle. The contractor then attached footings above the piers with rebar, and on Friday the work on the base wrapped up with the pouring of the floor. The base includes the piping for the water distribution, Peterson said.

With the base in place, the new 500,000-gallon water tower will soon rise next to the current tower, pictured here behind the base in Cowley.
David Peck photo

“It’s a good crew, and they’re doing good work,” the mayor said.

In about two weeks fabrication work will begin on the tower itself, Peterson said, as subcontractor Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors takes over the project, first constructing the cone, followed by the stem and finally the tank.

“We expect to have it in the air in December,” Peterson said.

After the tower and tank are in place, the project will go into a winter shutdown until April, Peterson said, after which the tank will be sealed and the structure painted.

“Then we’ll fill it and flush it, sterilize it and it will be ready for operation,” the mayor said. “Once it’s operational, the other tank will come down, so for four to six months we’ll have two water tanks next to each other in Cowley.”

The current 200,000-gallon tank was built in 1980 when Cowley had some 65 households and around 356 people. Now, the town has about 800 residents and the water system must supply 35 square miles of residences including homes well to the west almost to Deaver, north to the airport, behind Lovell to the east and into the sand hills to the south.

“During the summer months we’re going through 13 million gallons of water a month or about 433,000 gallons of water a day circulating through that tank, (refilling) better than twice a day, which is a problem if there would be an emergency,” Peterson said. “We’d be out of water before we knew it.”

Peterson said the $4.7 million project has been funded about 70 percent by the Wyoming Water Development Commission and 29 percent by the State Revolving Fund, with the Town of Cowley responsible for 1 percent of the cost and the State Loan and Investment Board chipping in $75,000. He noted that the project includes connecting the new water tower to the water system control building on the south edge of the rodeo grounds.

“By the time it’s completed next June, it should be paid off in full,” Peterson said.

By David Peck