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New Wastewater Storage Tank Designs Spur Fire Safety Innovation

Hospital and medical center fire protection system designs present unique challenges to plumbing engineers due to the sensitivities of the hospital environment. Hospitals are often heavily populated with people and expensive equipment. For those reasons and more, it is essential for hospitals to have reliable water storage tanks for fire protection in place in case of a fire.

The selection process is not straightforward, because in health care facilities there is an increased level of demand, a variety of required safety conditions and codes regarding fire protection and system reliability. On top of that is increasing pressure to reduce costs while maintaining a safe environment. Much of the above played out over the past few years during the design and construction of the new in-patient pavilion at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, NY.

After much analysis, Highland Tank of Stoystown, PA was selected to fabricate the storage tanks to supply water for fire protection by the MEP Engineers providing services for the construction of the medical center’s new in-patient pavilion. BR+A (Bard, Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers) of Boston, MA specified two 35,000 gallon HighDRO® Aboveground Horizontal Fire Protection Tanks for installation within this stunning $545 million patient pavilion located along shoreline of the Hudson River.

The Vassar Brothers Medical Center expansion is the largest construction project in the city of Poughkeepsie’s history. When the $466 million project is completed, the hospital will double in size and be the largest medical facility in the region. The 750,000-square-foot facility will have eight floors each with new operating, medical/surgical, critical care and emergency rooms that will accommodate patients and offers access to advanced treatments in a comfortable and healing environment. A conference center, café and extensive administrative, public and mechanical spaces round out this state-of-the-art medical center.

Because of the project’s size and complexity, the fire water demand for the building was critical. Highland Tank’ HighDRO® Fire Protection Tanks will provide a total of 70,000 gallons of water for the fire pumps supplying water for the building’s fire hoses and automatic fire sprinklers.
The water tanks are a requirement of NFPA® 22 Standard for Water Tanks for Private Fire Protection. Single-wall construction is the standard for these atmospheric tanks in fire protection systems. Other important design considerations of these water tanks included:
• Water supply to refill
• Duration of use
• Tanks capacity and actual usable gallons
• Tank design considering seismic loads
• Steel tank fabrication standards
• Internal and external coatings
• Overflow/fill protection
• Level monitoring
• Access and OSHA compliance
• Freeze protection

Highland Tank’s HighDRO® Fire Protection Tanks are an integral part of a building’s fire protection system designed for life safety or property protection. These welded steel water storage tanks come in many different shapes and sizes. They can be installed aboveground and can be designed to operate at atmospheric pressure or under pressure. In either case, HighDRO® welded steel water storage tanks are an essential part of a fire protection system – that part being the reliable water supply.

To ensure maximum longevity and optimum use, Highland’s corrosion protection systems for these aboveground water tanks comply with NFPA 22 and ANSI/AWWA D102. These aboveground tanks are protected with HighDRO-Liner Plus® NSF and ANSI 61 compliant internal lining and a selection of primers and topcoats for external coating to comply with ANSI/AWWA D102, “Coating Steel Water-Storage Tanks.”

Delivery and rigging of these large volume water storage tanks for the Vassar Brothers Medical Center was a real challenge. Highland Tank’s transportation and logistics infrastructure played an integral part in the project’s success. Along with our team of transportation professionals, our knowledgeable staff is skilled and experienced to consistently deliver excellent service to our customers.

Even during the grip of winter, the 35,000 gallon water storage tanks were delivered, off-loaded and transported by the riggers to the lower floor of the medical center on wheeled carts. Thus, the tanks were installed right on schedule!
It’s safe to say that a secure water storage tank for fire protection systems are the last line of defense during a hospital or medical center fire emergency. It’s the one system you hope never to use, but it’s an area where you, as the plumbing engineer, should never skimp.

Highland Tank is the industry leader in the field of water storage tanks for fire protection. With over 70 years manufacturing experience, our team are experts in water tank design and fabrication are on hand for technical advice and support to meet your clients fire protection needs both now and into the future.

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