Repair grant denied

Robert Smith

Pawhuska city government’s application for funds to rehabilitate the municipal water tank has been declined, a disappointed Interim City Manager Larry Eulert told councilors last week.

If it had been approved, the grant could have been for as much as $400,000, and the money would have paid to rehab the 2-million-gallon storage tank at the center of the community’s water supply system. A 2017 report on the tank, prepared by Cowan Group Engineering of Oklahoma City described both the exterior and the interior condition of the tank as “poor.”

Eulert said Pawhuska’s grant application was one of 35 applications competing for slices of the same pie of funding, but only eight applications were funded and Pawhuska’s was not one of those eight.

“So, we’re back to the drawing board on that,” he said. Eulert noted later that the city’s application for funding to rehabilitate the large ground-storage water tank was based on the urging of the state Department of Environmental Quality. He said he’s not sure where things go from here.

In the longer run, Eulert remains of the view that Pawhuska would be better off with two 750,000-gallon water tanks, instead of the relatively huge 2-million-gallon tank.

“You have to have some redundancy in the water-storage system. Right now, we don’t,” he said. Eulert has voiced concern about Pawhuska’s ability to address its water system needs as one of the keys to its future development, and to its ability to protect the health and well-being of its residents.