Crothersville’s biggest asset — its 130-foot-tall, 300,000-gallon steel water tower — is overdue for a paint job.
Chris Mains, the town’s street superintendent, contacted three companies that perform that type of work, and none of them offered a program like Suez.
That company, which has an office in Indianapolis, provides water and waste recycling services to more than 7.5 million people in the United States and Canada. In 35 years, it has more than 8,000 water towers on contract, including nearly 100 in Indiana, said Marc Hansen, a sales engineer with Suez.
The fixed-fee asset management program would allow Crothersville to spread the cost out and enter into a lifetime maintenance program.
It would be $51,000 a year for the first five years and then drop down to about $20,000 per year to begin paying for future paint jobs. That will come out of the town’s water budget for repairs and maintenance.
“It’s a year-to-year contract. You can quit at any time. We cannot quit,” Hansen recently told the town council. “Basically, the money you’re putting forward is in 15 years, you need to paint the tank again.”
Crothersville’s tower is 20 years old. The original coat of paint is chalking and flaking, and Mains said it’s going to rust if something isn’t done. Mold also has formed on the underside of the tank.
Hansen will present a request for proposal to town attorney Jeff Lorenzo for review so the process can begin.
The work potentially could start in September, but it’s weather-dependent, Hansen said.
With the exterior of the tower, there will be two coats of paint before retracing the town’s name on the tank and adding two Tiger logos.
Hansen said the best urethane paint in the market wears down in about 12 years, so Suez’s program will include recoating every 11 years.
The inside of the tank will be blasted down to the steel, and then two coats of epoxy will be applied. That work shouldn’t have to be done again until 15 years, Hansen said.
Also, a mixer will be installed to ensure the temperature and chlorine in the water stay unified at all times. Hansen said mixers are in all of Suez’s tanks in Indiana.
An internal ladder also will be installed so it can be used to power wash the inside of the tank every three years.
The exterior cable ladder also will be upgraded so the tower can be safely inspected every year. A certified inspector will produce a written report.
“We’re watching your tank because we guarantee the work on it,” Hansen said. “We believe tanks should last forever. There’s no reason you should have to throw away steel. This is robust steel. If you take care of it, it will last forever. … This community shouldn’t have to buy another tank unless you’re expanding and you need more capacity.”