Ribbon cut at new Fortuna reservoir

Mary Bullwinkel

Beacon Correspondent

The city recently celebrated the official ribbon cutting for the Stewart Street Reservoir.

The event signifies the official completion of the replacement of two extremely old and leaking water tanks with a new 2 million gallon pre-stressed concrete reservoir. It was hosted by the City of Fortuna and the Fortuna Chamber of Commerce and was attended by city, county, and construction project representatives.

"The old tanks were between 85 and 100 years old," said Fortuna City Manager Regan Candelario. "This tank is higher quality and set in the ground, should last just as long as the others, and serve the community for generations."

During the construction the contractors worked closely with the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department, to make sure there was no lapse in fire suppression.

"We had a great relationship with the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department and Chief Lon Winburn on coordinating any water shortages and needs," general contractor Ken Wahlund said.

Fire Chief Lon Winburn said the department was without water for a very limited time during construction.

"We were aware of what was going on the whole time and therefore kept the fire district covered and safe," he said, describing the new reservoir as a reliable and important resource for the fire district.

The actual construction took approximately one year to complete, starting in April 2012 and completed in March 2013, on time. The project was first proposed in April 2007 in a water system improvement preliminary design report prepared by Oscar Larson and Associates.

One of the recommendations in that report was to replace the facilities at the Stewart Street Reservoir site with more reliable and abundant water storage for zone 1, or the city's largest pressure zone that includes downtown Fortuna.

According to a city of Fortuna news release, multiple locations were considered for the new reservoir, but the current Stewart Street site was selected due to environmental concerns and costly piping and property acquisitions that would have been required for other locations.

GDH Inc. Senior Project Manager Merritt Perry thanked the residents living near the project saying, "the neighbors were impacted by the project with limited access and traffic issues. They were great to work with and we appreciate their understanding."

The new reservoir doubles the capacity of the two older tanks and greatly improves fire protection capacity for the city of Fortuna.

Photo by Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer/Beacon

Fortuna Mayor Doug Strehl stands with local officials and Fortuna Chamber ambassadors during the recent ribbon cutting held at the site on Stewart Street in Fortuna.