Prentis Park water tower to be repainted inside and out

Prentis Park water tower to be repainted inside and out by M. Jill Sundstrom Vermillion�s skyline will soon have a different look as the Prentis Park water tower changes color.

Work began this week to prepare for the sandblasting and repainting of the water tower, according to Harold Holoch, utilities engineer for the city of Vermillion.

�The project will include complete sandblasting and painting the interior and exterior of the water tower,� he said. �The last time it was painted was 1975. We�ve done touch-up work since then ? minor welding and grinding rough surfaces to take care of any corrosion problems. But it�s time to do the whole thing, now.

�We�ve done periodic inspections over the years, and there is nothing wrong with the water tower,� Holoch added. �This is just preventative maintenance.�

The tower, built in 1959, has a capacity of 550,000 gallons of water, which was drained into the system prior to the project. Water Superintendent Vern Hasenbank says the community will experience little change in water pressure while the Prentis Park tower is out of commission.

�We�ll run 24-hours-a-day or so at the water plant to make sure everything is full,� Hasenbank said. �The tower downtown can hold 110,000 gallons and will have to be filled more often during this time. We also have the ground storage tank next to the water plant as a reserve which holds 1.5 million gallons.�

H & H Contracting of Sleepy Eye, MN, and Tyndall, has been hired to do the job.

�Their bid came in at $154,850,� Holoch said. �Depending on the weather, it will probably take them five weeks to complete the work.�

Crews will be on the job six days a week, beginning as early as 8 a.m. each day.

After sandblasting both interior and exterior surfaces, a three-coat paint system will be used on the water tower. Outside, a primer, an epoxy coat and a polyurethane finish will be applied. Primer and two coats of epoxy will be painted inside.

�Once the final coat goes on the exterior, people will notice a difference right away,� Holoch said. �It will be ?river sand� in color. We�ll no longer have a silver water tower.�

For safety reasons, the city has fenced off the playground area and two basketball courts near the tower.

�We hated to have to do that, especially during Dakota Days, but it couldn�t be helped,� Hasenbank said. �We apologize for any inconvenience, but this is a necessary project.�

�And the window of opportunity is very limited for a project like this,� Holoch added. �We have to do it when the swimming pool is not in operation, and before frost.�

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