For Immediate Release
Contact: Wayne McKinney
Oak Ridge, Tenn., Aug. 3, 2013 – One of the most iconic structures at East Tennessee
Technology Park (ETTP)—the checkerboard water tower that has dominated the site’s skyline
for 55 years—has been demolished.
URS | CH2M Oak Ridge LLC (UCOR), along with its subcontracting partners, brought down the
382-ft-tall tower Saturday through a controlled explosive demolition that sent the structure
toppling into an empty field.
Officially called the K-1206-F Fire Water Tower, the 400,000-gallon structure was designed and
built by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company in 1958 to service the site’s fire protection
system. It operated until June 3, when the valves were turned off. It was drained, disconnected,
and permanently taken out of service on July 15.
With the tower gone, the site will rely on pumping stations to provide the necessary pressure for
its fire water system. The system will eventually be turned over to the city of Oak Ridge, another
step in DOE’s overall strategy of converting ETTP into a private sector industrial park.
“Removing this water tower is a significant—and very visible—step in cleaning up ETTP,” said
Jim Kopotic, Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management’s Federal Project Director for the
East Tennessee Technology Park. “Many people have worked countless hours to safely bring
down this historic tower, which was one of the most visible and identifiable structures at the site.
This demolition marks another major advancement in the transformation of ETTP.”
Through the years, the tower had deteriorated. An engineering evaluation was conducted in 1994
to assess its overall condition. It was eventually added to the list of structures at ETTP—the
former Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant—that would be demolished. Although not originally
schedule to be demolished this year, UCOR and DOE accelerated the schedule for demolition
because of the tower’s continuing deterioration.
“The skyline at ETTP is forever changed with the demolition of the water tower,” said Bob
Smith, Technical Services and Site Support Projects Manager. “We are pleased that we were able
to safely and expeditiously bring down this massive structure, accomplishing another major
cleanup milestone at the site. This demolition project is emblematic of the cleanup and
reindustrialization of the ETTP site.”
The water tower is estimated to contain at least 1.5 million pounds of steel, which is being
characterized and sampled in preparation for recycling. Any steel that cannot be recycled will go
to the Y-12 Sanitary Landfill for disposal.
The project was a team effort involving DOE, UCOR, and UCOR’s subcontractors—Veterans
Contracting Solutions Group LLC and Controlled Demolition Inc.