Water tower gets facelift
Published 8:57 pm Monday, January 5, 2015
The water tower on Washington’s East Third Street is getting a facelift, but not for the usual aesthetic reasons: lead-based paint from its original paint job 80 years ago was flaking off in hand-sized pieces and required total removal.
“The reason why it was flaking off was because it had been painted so many times that the paint was so heavy, it was flaking off the bottom of the tank,” said Allen Lewis, director of the city’s public works department. “Once it starts flaking off, you’ve got to strip it down.”
Utility Service Group, out of Greensboro, was contracted by the city to strip, prime then paint the water tower for approximately $180,000 in the fall of 2013, but the removal of T-Mobile cell equipment located on top of the tower delayed the process until recently, Lewis said. Prior to the project’s start, T-Mobile’s equipment was located to a temporary tower called a COW — Cell On Wheels — behind the tower and will be returned to the tower after the project’s completion.
To keep any lead-based material contained, Utility Service Group installed a “veil” covering the entire water tower during the stripping process.
The tower has now had a primer coat of paint applied and will be painted with the finish coat in the next two to three weeks, weather permitting, Lewis said, adding that conditions must be dry and the temperature above 50 degrees to get the painting done.
“It should last for quite a while,” Lewis said. “Obviously we’re not going back with lead-based paint.”
Lewis said the water tower will be repainted as it was before, with “The Original Washington” inscribed on the tank.