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Planning and experience combined for a successful Barnhart job last week that removed an 80-year old deteriorating water tank and steel tower in East Hampton, Conn.

photo by Jeff Mill - The Middleton Press

The project was part of a seven-year effort to have the tank and tower on which it sat removed. Over the years, both had become safety hazards.

The cypress tank, measuring 22′ high and 18′ diameter and weighing 25,000 lbs., was removed first, utilizing a 200-ton Demag hydraulic crane and two pneumatically powered 135’ Manlifts. The crews secured the tank even as they worked to separate it from its supports.

To ensure the tank stayed whole, workers screwed long, narrow pieces of plywood to the outside. The two-man crews in the lifts also fastened slings around the tank.

After an initial effort, crews secured the tank from the bottom using the proper rigging.  Once the securement was complete, they began cutting away the supports using acetylene torches.  Then, with the crews down from their lift vehicles, the crane increased the tension on the lines and slowly swung the tank out and around and settled it down with ease on the pavement near an abandoned thread mill.

Lifting the wooden tank off its stand was “almost anticlimactic,” according to Jon Irwin, the operations manager for Barnhart Northeast.  Having developed a good plan in advance, “the lift is the least of the work,” Irwin said after the tank was safely on the ground.

Photo by Jeff Mill - The Middletown Press

Less than half an hour after the tank was lowered to the ground, crews starting taking it apart, carrying the weather-beaten boards into a roll-off container. Barnhart removed the four-legged steel tower the next day.

“We have a great crew here,” Irwin said. “They’re top-notch.”

Both the cypress wood and the steel in the tower are being recycled.