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Minimum Reinforcement in
Elevated Water Storage Tanks

Table 5.2 in “Guide for the concrete columns per Chapter 10 of
Analysis, Design, and ACI 318-05.4
Construction of Elevated Because of tank geometry, an
Concrete and Composite Steel-Concrete all-concrete tank typically has a much
Water Storage Tanks (ACI 371R-08),”1 smaller pedestal diameter than a
includes recommendations for minimum composite tank. The “wall” provisions
wall reinforcement. Under the heading, can lead to thick concrete sections in
“Seismic coefficient SD1 < 0.20,” the table regions of high seismicity, so it’s
has two minimum reinforcement ratios customary to design the pedestal as a
for vertically oriented bars, depending on “reinforced concrete column” in
the “maximum compressive fiber stress these situations. Section of
based on actual axial plus flexure stress ACI 371R-08 states: “When the effects
resulting on gross concrete section” fc. The of vertical load and bending caused by
ratio is 0.0015 when fc is below 1 ksi the presence of slabs, diaphragms, or
(7 MPa), but it’s 0.005 when fc is 1 ksi or domes and other discontinuities are
more. Why is there such a jump when fc determined by rational analysis, the
exceeds 1000 psi? Also, could you provide pedestal wall should be designed as a
more details on the calculation of fc? column of unit circumferential width
according to ACI 318-05, Section 14.4,

In brief, the 1000 psi limit is and the applicable sections of
Fig. 1: Common configuration of elevated
a convenient demarcation ACI 318-05, Chapter 10. The vertical
composite steel-concrete tanks (Fig. 1.2
between lightly loaded, wall reinforcement should be equal to
in ACI 371R-081)
large-diameter pedestals used for or greater than 0.005Ag and need not
composite tanks (tanks comprising a be enclosed by lateral ties when
reinforced concrete pedestal and steel the conditions of ACI 318-05,
tank as shown in Fig. 1) and more Section 14.3.6, are satisfied.”1
highly loaded, small-diameter pedestals Therefore, the minimum
used for all-concrete tanks (Fig. 2). reinforcement ratio of 0.005 in
Table 5.2 of ACI 371R-081 (Fig. 3) Table 5.2 of ACI 371R-08 comes
includes recommendations for both from limits for reinforcement
composite and all-concrete tanks and of compression members in
is effectively an expanded version of ACI 318-05:
Table 4.8.2 in ACI 371R-982 (Fig. 4), •• “…it shall be permitted to
which dealt only with composite tanks. base the minimum reinforce-
The pedestal design recommendations ment and strength on a
for composite tanks are based on reduced effective area Ag not
provisions for reinforced concrete less than one-half the total
walls per Chapter 14 of ACI 318-95,3 area” (Section 10.8.4); and
which don’t include the vertical •• “Area of longitudinal
reinforcing in compressive strength reinforcement, Ast, for
calculations. For all-concrete tanks, the noncomposite compression
pedestal design recommendations are members shall be not less than Fig. 2: Common configuration of elevated all-
based on provisions for reinforced 0.01Ag…” (Section 10.9.1). concrete tanks (Fig. 1.1 in ACI 371R-081)

82 april 2013 Concrete international

Questions in this column were asked by users of ACI documents and have been answered
by ACI staff or by a member or members of ACI technical committees. The answers do not
represent the official position of an ACI committee. Only a published committee document
represents the formal consensus of the committee and the Institute.

We invite comment on any of the questions and answers published in this column. Write to the

Concrete Q&A Editor, Concrete International, 38800 Country Club Drive, Farmington Hills, MI 48331; contact
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Fig. 3: Minimum wall reinforcement (Table 5.2 in ACI 371R-081)

Guidance regarding the calculation

of fc can be found in ANSI/AWWA
D107-10,5 a standard for the design,
construction, inspection, and testing of
composite elevated tanks that was
developed somewhat concurrently
with ACI 371R-08 and uses the ACI
guide as one of its source documents.
The ANSI/AWWA standard includes a
provision for determining minimum
wall thickness: “Compression stress
shall not exceed 0.25 fc´ nor 1000 psi
(7 MPa) for load combination S1.1 in
Sec.,” where load combination
S1.1 is a nominal service load
Fig. 4: Minimum wall reinforcement (Table 4.8.2 in ACI 371R-982)
combination of dead load and stored
water load. The intent of the 1000 psi
limit (which is 25% of fc´ for 4000 psi Elevated Concrete and Composite Steel- 4. ACI Committee 318, “Building Code
[28 MPa] concrete) is to apportion the Concrete Water Storage Tanks (ACI 371R-08),” Requirements for Structural Concrete
permissible service load stress (roughly American Concrete Institute, Farmington (ACI 318-05) and Commentary,” American
0.55 fc´) nearly equally between gravity Hills, MI, 2008, 41 pp. Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI,
loads and environmental loads. So the 2. ACI Committee 371, “Guide for the 2005, 430 pp.
AWWA standard effectively limits fc to Analysis, Design, and Construction of 5. AWWA Standards Committee on
1000 psi under the action of gravity Concrete-Pedestal Water Towers Composite Elevated Tanks, “Composite
loads, and this can be considered the (ACI 371R-98),” American Concrete Institute, Elevated Tanks for Water Storage (ANSI/
basis for the 1000 psi limit on fc found in Farmington Hills, MI, 1998, 36 pp. AWWA D107-10),” American Water Works
Table 5.2 of ACI 371R-08. 3. ACI Committee 318, “Building Code Association, Denver, CO, Dec. 2010, 164 pp.
Requirements for Structural Concrete
References (ACI 318-95) and Commentary,” American Thanks to Rolf Pawski, Landmark
1. ACI Committee 371, “Guide for the Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI, Structures, for providing the answer to
Analysis, Design, and Construction of 1995, 369 pp. this question.

Concrete international april 2013 83

Concrete Q&A
Corrections to “Dowel Bars in Slabs-on-Ground”
The answer to the March 2013 Q&A (p. 79) cited
information from ACI 360R-06. Instead, it should have
referred to ACI 360R-10,1 so:
•• Section 5.2 of ACI 360R-06 should be replaced with
Section 6.2 of ACI 360R-10 as a go-to reference on
load-transfer mechanisms for slabs-on-ground;
•• References to Fig. 3.9 and 3.6 from ACI 302.1R-04 (Fig. 1
and 2 in the March 2013 Q&A, respectively) should be
replaced with references to Fig. 6.5 in ACI 360R-10, as
that figure contains updated information; and
•• Table 5.1 from Section 5.2 of ACI 360R-06 (Fig. 3 in
March 2013 Q&A) should be replaced with Table 6.1
from Section 6.2 of ACI 360R-10, as that table also
contains updated information.
In addition, the answer should refer readers to Section 2.2.10
of ACI 117-10,2 which provides tolerances for placement of
dowels in slabs-on-ground. See ACI 360R-10 for the latest
information on design of slabs-on-ground.

1. ACI Committee 360, “Guide to Design of Slabs-on-Ground (ACI
360R-10),” American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI, 2010,
74 pp.
2. ACI Committee 117, “Specification for Tolerances for Concrete
Construction and Materials (ACI 117-10) and Commentary,” American
Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI, 2010, 78 pp.

Editor’s note: We regret that the latest ACI documents were not
cited, and we thank Wayne Walker, Norcross, GA, for notifying us. Fig. 6.5: Typical doweled joints

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