Riverside Boulevard Water Tower upgrades critical to City water system


February 2019 to Present


$1 million

The Riverside Boulevard Water Tower is highly visible as it sits near a busy intersection with heavy city traffic on the Northwest side of Rockford, Illinois.

When the 137-foot-tall tower built in 1986 began to show its age as pieces of paint littered the surrounding grassy area, City officials knew they had an opportunity.

The 1-million-gallon water tower needed new paint, so the City took advantage to make upgrades and safety additions, too. Our team provided design and construction engineering services. We obtained site and tank record drawings and supplemental survey information as a design base, paying close attention to horizontal clearances. We created plans and technical specifications for abrasive blasting and recoating and interior platform upgrades. We also planned to add a roof handrail and interior wet ladder and upgrade the electrical. We also redesigned the overflow splash pad to ensure water would drain away from the tower foundation.

During construction, a broken valve was discovered that would not allow the tower to be fully isolated from the distribution network. To avoid project delays, our team worked with the City to quickly create a plan to add a 16-inch insertion valve to the water main feed to the tower. We also planned for the removal and replacement of the altitude valve and bypass piping/valves to ensure the City has full control of the tower at all times.

Because we completed a similar water tower project for the City less than 10 miles away a year earlier, our structural engineering team used the same innovative plan to tackle the condensation issue in the tower riser shaft. We modified platform floors to a desirable and durable bar grating material, limiting moisture buildup and added special, insulative coating to the interior fill pipe and the belly of the tank to also hinder condensation.

Fehr Graham ensured work was done under American Water Works Association (AWWA) requirements. We provided notice and information to all residents and businesses near the tower. Our team ensured the logo design and specifications matched City standards.

Rockford produces and treats about 7.6 billion gallons of water annually and when residents turn on a faucet, water is supplied from 26 City wells. This tower is a critical component for the operations of the City water system. This project not only provides a reliable storage system for potable water, but it also serves as a billboard to showcase the City of Rockford in a highly trafficked area.

» Engineering design.
» Structural engineering design.
» Construction observation.