The track-mounted metal cutter acts like a giant can opener.
As the track-hoe's arm was lifted over the intended target, the old Price City water tank, the arm dug into the side of the metal tank, splitting open what for many years held over a million gallons of water for the city.
And just like that, the tanks, an old landmark on the south slope of Wood Hill dating back decades, will soon be no more.
Construction at the site will eventually see all five of the city's water tanks located in the area be torn down and removed, according to Gary Sonntag, Price City public works director. The city has given a period of 90 days to complete the project, but Sonntag said the work should take no longer than a month.
The scrap materials from the water tanks will be purchased by Price Metal Salvage, who presented a bid to the city for $1,000 for the materials which the Price City Council accepted with a unanimous vote at their last city council meeting on Aug. 24.
While the tearing down of the water tanks may mean losing the familiar hillside landmark near Washington Park, the tanks not being in use and the piping and other equipment for the tanks deemed unusable by the city, other avenues including tearing the tanks down for future residential developments was put up for discussion by the city, Tatton said. About five years ago, the city looked at all of the property they owned to be assessed and to determine what could be deemed surplus property.
While the city was waiting to determine the final fate of the water tanks, they looked into the possibility of using the tanks for city storage. However, because of pillars inside and the overall condition of the tanks, that idea was later scrapped, according to Tatton.
"The tanks were basically a dead piece of property for the city," he explained.
Because the tanks were not in use by the city, they also presented a number of safety issues with kids playing in the area and the tanks accumulated their fair share of vandalism, according to Tatton.
Any plans for possible residential orientated developments on the land would provide a more productive use of the land for the city and its residents, Tatton said.
The five old water tanks vary in size and were built over the course of many years. The two lower tanks on the land, each with a capacity of 2 million gallons, were built in 1947. The middle tank, with a capacity of 750,000 gallons, is the oldest of the tanks as it was built in 1938. The two upper tanks, one with a capacity of 1 million gallons and the other with 1.5 million gallons, were built in 1958 and 1971 respectively.
The city's current water tanks are located on Wood Hill and near Castle Heights and together they have a capacity of about 13 million gallons, according to Sonntag.
For many people who live in and drive by the area on a regular basis, the tanks also provided an interesting site with murals painted on the outside of the lower tanks. The work on the murals took place back in 2000 when local artist Marcia Vincent and the children of Castleview Hospital employees decorated the tank. The mural was part of the hospital's contribution to the International Days festival for that year. The group planned to keep painting additions to the mural every year after.
No plans were made to save the murals painted on the tank, Sonntag said.