Prior Lake’s South water tower will have a new look following a city reconditioning project which is scheduled to be complete this summer.
The project includes interior and exterior painting, sandblasting and other surface and structural repairs to the tower located on Tower Street SE. The exterior of the tower will be completely repainted and have a slightly different design than it does currently, said Public Works Director Andy Brotzler.
“Basically the lower half of the tower bowl itself and then the standpipe and then the tower legs will be a darker blue,” he said. “Our experience in observing darker colors being used in other communities and working with our project consultant is that the darker color will not show mold and mildew on the bottom of the bowl as much as can be observed on the lighter color that’s there now.”
A gold wave will also be added to the exterior.
Water towers create pressure in the water system for redistribution and provide storage space for water to meet increasing demands throughout the day. A fire call would create a large demand on the system, but the tower allows the demand to be met without affecting any other aspects, Brotzler explained.
To repaint the interior and complete structural repairs, the tower will be drained, but there will be no changes to distribution of water within the city while the tower is offline, Brotzler said.
“In addition to this tower, we have the north water tower that provides water storage plus the city’s water treatment plant has water storage built into it and scheduling this work earlier in the spring through the early part of summer our goal is to have the water tower complete and back online by the end of June, ahead of what might typically be higher demand periods of the year when people are doing more lawn watering and stuff,” he said.
The reconditioning, which is a regularly planned and budgeted for city project, was awarded to a contractor at a cost of approximately $790,000, Brotzler said, adding that the bid was lower than what the city had initially budgeted for. Funds for the project come from the city’s water utility fund.
Water tower coatings typically last between 15 to 20 years. Brotzler said it’s been about 17 years since the south water tower last underwent such maintenance.
“Long term, it’s to extend the structural life of the tower. Left unchecked, there’s rust and corrosion that occurs and structural aspects of the tower that can start to fail if they are not corrected in an appropriate amount of time,” he said.
The 750,000 gallon water tower was first constructed in 1973.
According to the city’s project webpage, preliminary work for the project began late February with the relocation of trees in the area and construction of temporary poles for cellular antenna equipment, which companies lease space on the tower for, Brotzler added.
The main painting project is expected to begin in April.