Rotational molder Quadel Industries Inc. is providing almost 300 water tanks to Oregon residents impacted by drought conditions in that state.
In July, Coos Bay, Ore.-based Quadel began supplying 500-gallon tanks to homes in Klamath County, where private wells have run dry. The firm plans to supply 288 of the tanks, according to a news release from the Oregon Department of Human Services.
"We'll do extra shifts to accommodate the timeline this month," co-owner Eric Luckman said in the release. "We'll be spinning them out 24 at a time."
In an Aug. 18 phone interview, Luckman added that the linear low density polyethylene tanks were an existing product made by Quadel. The first order should be completed by the end of the month, he said, adding that he thinks more tanks could be needed.
Quadel makes deliveries using its own trucks. The drought area is about a five-hour drive from Quadel's plant in Coos Bay. The tanks weigh about 120 pounds when empty.
Luckman said the urgent need for the tanks "fit in well with what we're able to do."
Officials said in the release that drought "is not a foreign concept" to the area, but they added that the current drought "is different" because the water level "is too low and it could be months before the winter rains can fill the wells."
Quadel was contacted by Russ Monk, owner of Salem, Ore.-based Watershed, a rainwear firm that also makes personal protective equipment. Monk has been working with local drought relief efforts.
The first 4-by-7-foot tanks, with water filled from the Klamath Falls municipal water supply, were delivered in late July. Weekly water deliveries are scheduled through October.
Oregon Emergency Management official Tim Seymour said that when one resident picked up his tank, other residents also saw his smaller water jugs were empty and gave him eight more gallons of water.
"He was thrilled," Seymour added. "It's clear when people's wells go dry it's a different level of fear, concern and stress."
Kelley Minty Morris, chair of the Klamath County Board of Commissioners, said in the release that a local woman wrote to her and said that when she learned that she would be able to get her tank filled through the ODHS, she cried.
"She was so relieved that someone was stepping in to help," Morris added.
Local officials estimated that residents need 80-100 gallons of water a day, so homes receiving the water tanks will still need to ration their water.
"The goal is to get you to where you can survive and make it out," Seymour said.
Drought relief efforts started with the Klamath County Commission and later included the ODHS Emergency Management Unit, the state Office of Emergency Management, Oregon Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network, the Klamath Falls Watermaster and the Tualatin Valley Water District. The Tualatin district loaned Klamath a water distribution trailer for people to get smaller amounts of water.
More than 300 homes initially were confirmed to need water. It's estimated that there are about 1,800 homes in Klamath County on private wells, so more homes could be affected in the future.
The ODHS unit first acquired 38 of the 500-gallon tanks from a firm in Oklahoma, but more were needed. "The remaining tanks will be manufactured because we are not the only state seeking tanks to address the lack of water due to drought," ODHS official Micah Goettl said.
Quadel was founded in 1984. Its product mix includes portable toilets, hand wash stations, water tanks and protective netting. In addition to rotomolding, the firm does extrusion and vacuum forming work. It ranks No. 104 among North American rotational molders, according to Plastics News' latest data, at $1.25 million in rotomolding sales.