Yellow Springs water towers to be rehabbed, painted
- Published: July 11, 2023
On Wednesday, July 5, crews kicked off the two-year long process of rehabbing and painting the two Village water towers at Gaunt Park.
Yellow Springs Water and Wastewater Superintendent Brad Ault said the plan is to start this year with the 63-foot-tall, 900,000-gallon tower to the north — the one that stands nearest to the Gaunt Park pool. Work on that tower will finish before this November, Ault said, and work on the 73-foot-tall, 1 million-gallon tower to the south will take place during a similar time frame next year.
From start to finish, the project involves draining each tower, sandblasting the existing coating off the exterior and interior, buffing out any defects, applying new coats of protective paint over the steel and finally, refilling — all that, one water tower at a time.
Ault and his team began the work of draining the north tower from a nearby hydrant and into an overflow drain behind the park’s baseball fields earlier this week.
“Both towers are in pretty decent shape despite their ages,” Ault said, “But this is the kind of maintenance work that needs to happen every 20 to 25 years. It’s a job you want to do proactively and not reactively.”
The north tower was built in 1962. Then, in January 1977, after it blew a seam and released millions of gallons of water into Gaunt Park amid sub-zero temperatures, the second tower was erected in the summer of 1978 as a failsafe should the other tower falter again. The new tower doubled the Village’s water storage capacity from 1 million to nearly 2 million gallons.
As previously reported in the News, the most recent time one of the two towers was serviced was in 2004.
The whole two-year-long project will cost the Village $783,125 Public Works Director Johnnie Burns told the News earlier this week. That amount is composed of $694,400 to Viking Painting to paint both towers, and $88,725 to Dixon Engineering for their ongoing project inspection services — “to ensure the work is done well,” Village Manager Josué Salmerón said at a Village Council meeting last month.
To accomplish the top-to-bottom job, Ault said he foresees both the painting and inspections crews setting up lifts, ladders, scaffolding, pulleys and more.
“If all goes well, which it will, villagers won’t notice any changes to their water,” Ault said. “The absolute worst case scenario is that we lose water pressure in town and we have to issue boil advisories while we collect water samples.”
“But again, I don’t expect that to happen,” Ault emphasized.
As for the paint job, villagers may mourn the loss of the iconic yellow bands on the towers. Ault said that once all is done, the towers will be colored a light blue. Owing to budgetary constraints for the project, Ault said that Viking Painting isn’t able to get too creative with the towers’ new designs.
“For now, it has to be light blue,” Ault said. “If we went dark, the sunlight could heat up the water and affect its quality. And white just shows dirt too easily. Blue’s going to look good.”
Note: Despite the shared name, this reporter is not affiliated with Dixon Engineering.