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Manhattan Beach Residents Tour Newly Refurbished Water Tower Complex

Apr 25, 2022 08:24AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The Manhattan Beach Public Works Department on Saturday held an "open house" at the water tower complex in East Manhattan at 8th and Rowell to show neighborhood residents the new refurbishments and more.

The 74-year-old water tower went through a recoating project starting in June 2021 and completed in October 2021. During the (somewhat noisy) construction, the tower was  encapsulated in a white covering that residents had begun referring to as a "soda can" or "salt shaker."



Now that the project is finished, the iconic 125-foot tower is a gleaming white and bears the new Manhattan Beach city logo.

Given that the tower and its tank are made from steel, it needs to be recoated regularly or else it will begin to corrode, said project engineer Harvey Gobas. Since the city has been proactive in recoating it, the new covering should last another 20 to 25 years, he added.

The water tower, built in 1948, is a steel tank supported on a central pier and eight outer columns. It has a storage capacity of 300,000 gallons, representing only a small portion of the city's water storage capacity. 

The water tower was structurally anchored and retrofitted to the latest earthquake standards in the 1990s. City staff indicated during Saturday's tour that another update on the tower's seismic safety is expected this year.

One resident on an afternoon tour said that he remembered the tower "creaking" and the sound of water sloshing during the Northridge earthquake of 1994, but the tower remained fully operational.

The tower is now mainly used as a backup system and for pressure control, and not relied upon heavily for storage.

Manhattan Beach Water System

The city has three storage tanks - the Rowell water tower, a 1.6 million gallon ground-level tank at the same hilltop Rowell complex, and the Peck Reservoir at 18th and Peck.

The Peck Reservoir is currently undergoing the Peck Reservoir Replacement Project, the second largest capital improvement project in recent history. It is designed to replace the city’s largest drinking water storage reservoir with a new 8-million-gallon reservoir. The new concrete reservoir will replace the former one built in 1957 and increase capacity by 500,000 gallons to store drinking water supplies and serve the city in firefighting and during emergencies.

All told, the city uses about 5 million gallons of water per day, staff said on Saturday, supplied by a combination of local wells and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

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