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Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) was originally founded in 1942 to assist with the Manhattan Project and continues to remain as one of the United States Department of Energy’s top research facilities. Throughout the campus, there are several potable and non-potable water storage tanks of varying ages instrumental in the water supply to the buildings, research laboratories, and the on-site fire department. Based on the age and necessity of the water tanks, ANL requested a complete assessment and repair recommendations.
ANL retained the CCJM Team, where RRJ is the structural engineer on the team, to evaluate seven of the water towers. RRJ performed structural assessments on various structural members for each of the tanks, including structural framing and foundations. RRJ conducted visual inspections, nondestructive and destructive testing, including petrographic analyses on the concrete foundations to assess their existing conditions. To reduce inspection time and risk, RRJ utilized drone photography in unreachable areas where binoculars or close-up examination was not conducive.
RRJ’s investigation revealed varying levels of foundation and framing distress and prepared repair recommendations based on the results of the condition assessments. The repair recommendations ranged from full replacement of the water tower to no repairs required. Several water towers required concrete foundation repairs as well as isolated anchor bolt replacement, which garnered additional structural analyses to determine safe conditions for the necessary repairs.