Google donates water tanks to help rural firefighting and community groups

  • Thursday, February 14, 2013

Google is donating 14 of its used water storage tanks to help Charleston County’s Awendaw District Fire Department increase its water supply in rural areas. Allstate Crane will take the other 15 used tanks and make them available to community organizations that can put them to good use.

The 20,000 gallon tanks will help supply water in rural locations where the Awendaw District firefighters are far from other sources. Each tank measures more than 11 feet tall and 35 feet long and weighs 15,000 pounds.

“Google is constantly improving its data centers, and it is time for these tanks to be replaced at the Moncks Corner center,” said Eric Wages, operations manager of the Berkeley County data center. “Google is committed to protecting the environment, so finding another use for these tanks is ideal. It’s even better that they will provide fire protection to our neighbors.”

The Awendaw Fire District borders the Francis Marion National Forest. Forest fires are part of the natural system in southern pine forests like Francis Marion. Firefighters in rural areas already use prescribed burns as a way to lower the risk of a wildfire. The water tanks will be an additional source of protection to homeowners in the event that a wildfire does occur, according to Awendaw Fire District Chief Tommy Norris.

“Wildfires and other fires demand an immediate response, and these water tanks will help firefighters react quickly in areas that typically do not have a nearby water source,” Norris said. “Placing the donated water tanks strategically around our rural fire district will ensure firefighters have the water available to put out any fire as fast as possible.”

The Allstate Crane Company donated its services to move the tanks to their new locations around the department’s district in Charleston County. Allstate is taking an additional 15 of Google’s used water tanks. One of those tanks is going to a local monastery.

“The monks will use the tank to store water for their gardens where they grow fruit for the jams and preserves they sell,” said Melissa Linton of Allstate Crane Company. “The tanks could be useful to other people and organizations in our community, and we hope to find new homes for all of them.”

The water tanks are a significant investment. They each cost about $70,000 when new. As part of its commitment to environmental responsibility, Google seeks alternative uses for used water tanks at many of its data centers.

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