Construction on Heath's new west-side water tower is slated to begin in early February and should be operational by June.

Construction on Heath's new west-side water tower is slated to begin in early February and should be operational by June.

The new above-ground tower off Seminary Road, between Thornwood Drive and Canyon Road, will hold 500,000 gallons of water and will increase water pressure for businesses on the west side of the city.

John Geller, director of the Heath utility department, said the new pressure zone would service about 300 acres near Seminary and Thornwood.

Kaiser Aluminum, the Mid-Ohio Industrial Park and the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority will see the effects of the increased pressure. The Chapel Grove Inn, an assisted-living facility on Chapel Way, also will see an increase in water pressure.

"We have an industrial corridor where the majority of the industry in Heath lies," Geller said. "Our water pressures are low in that area."

He said one of the main goals with the new water tower is to help grow the business corridor.

"We are hoping that we will get more industry into that new pressure-zone area," Geller said. "We are hoping it is going to bring industry into the city. We are just trying to get the right approach, so people want to move in to that area."

Heath Mayor Mark Johns said the new pressure zone should help the industrial corridor be more attractive to businesses.

"When you look at where that property is located and its access to the highway and rail transportation routes, it's hard to imagine a more attractive location for industrial development," Johns said.

The tower is estimated to cost $1.5-million, with $400,000 coming out of the city's general fund and $1.1-million being rolled into a one-year note.

Through the bidding process, TLV Construction has been selected to do the water-line work, and Gateway Tank will install the water tower.

Geller said some of the current businesses along Seminary Road have had to buy booster pumps to increase their water pressure, which currently is about 35 to 50 pounds per square inch (psi) and is provided by an underground tank that holds 500,000 gallons of water.

The new above-ground tank will be next to the underground tank. He said the new tower would increase pressure in the area to about 70 to 80 psi.

"I think some of them are not going to need the booster pumps after they go through the improvement," Geller said. "It will mainly help the industries that have not developed yet."

He said the new tower would have other benefits, too.

"I think it is also going to help fire protection," Geller said. "It is an advantage for industries to move into that area because they are going to have more pressure to fight fires with."

Geller said the city is waiting to hear back from the Licking County board of appeals, which must give clearance to build near the airport. He expects to have the board's decision by Feb. 8 and have the official contracts signed soon after. He also said the city already has approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and the state of Ohio.

Currently, the City of Heath has four water towers to serve the city.

In addition to the 500,000-gallon underground tank, a 1-million-gallon tank at the River Oaks subdivision serves the heart of Heath, and a 135,000-gallon tank at the WCLT radio station on state Route 13 and a 250,000-gallon tank near Willow Ridge and Forest Ridge serve the rest of the city.