Demolition of Latham Water tanks begins today

The demolition of the checkerboard Latham water tanks will begin today, according to Latham Water District Superintendent John Frazer.

\The removal of the paint in anticipation of the cutting of the steel is expected to start today in addition to some other preliminary work, Frazer said in an email.

This comes after the process was stalled on Jan. 20 when the tank was filled with 3 to 4 feet of ice. Frazer said most of that ice has been removed.

"We removed a lot of the ice and only have 2 inches left," Frazer said. "We've been running water through it just to melt it. And we've also had a couple of moderate temperature days."

The contractor, Schultz Construction Inc., was back on the site Monday. Frazer said the demolition was halted when the contractor became concerned that when the steel was removed, some of the paint from the tank would chip off and fall into the water, contaminating it. While the steel would have been taken to a recycling yard and be melted down, the water would have to be disposed of as hazardous waste.

Now with the contractor on-site, the process will be able to resume.

The two Latham water tanks on Utica Avenue were identified by the Federal Aviation Administration Part 77 as obstructing navigable airspace and breaks through the approach surface for the Albany International Airport's Runway 28, heading east and west, by 56 feet.

With funding coming from the FAA, the Albany Airport Authority and the New York State Department of Transportation, the two water tanks were set to be taken down. The total cost of the project is $11.1 million with $6.7 million coming from the FAA out of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The smaller tank, built in 1931, at 80 feet tall, held 100,000 gallons, and the taller one, at 90 feet tall, held 3 million gallons.

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