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Council awards $257K bid to paint water tower inside and out

Located next to Scripter Park on S. Glaspie St., the Oxford Village water tower is going to get a new paint job. (click for larger version)
August 18, 2010 - Oxford Village's iconic water tower is going to receive a new paint job, both inside and out, along with some much-needed repairs. The only question is when.

Council last week voted 3-1 to award the bid for the 500,000-gallon water tower project to the Farmington Hills-based V&T Painting for an amount not to exceed $256,800.

"V&T is qualified," said Rob Lavoie, from with the village's engineer, the Pontiac-based Nowak & Fraus. "They've done these types of projects in the past extensively."

Other than a few issues with paperwork and running "a little behind" on projects, Lavoie said, "At the end of the day, they did a nice job."

"They stood behind their product," he said. "I didn't hear anything that would cause me to say to you, 'You shouldn't go with them.'"

Back in November 2009, the Lake Odessa-based Dixon Engineering inspected the tower's condition and found the exterior and "wet interior" coatings to be in "poor condition."

The wet interior is the inside portion of the tower that comes in direct contact with the drinking water.

Council's only issues with hiring V&T Painting were with the project's time-frame and the potential savings that could result.

V&T Painting indicated that if the project was done this fall, it would cost $256,800 to paint the interior and exterior of the tower and make all the necessary repairs.

However, if the project was put off until next spring, V&T Painting was willing to knock $7,000 off the price, bringing it down to $249,800.

After doing the math, Councilman Dave Bailey indicated the potential $7,000 savings amounts to 2.8 percent, which is "not a huge discount" in his opinion.

Councilman Tom Benner expressed his desire to get the tower's interior painted this fall in order to halt deterioration inside the storage tank.

"I have a concern about the interior quality of the tank, which does affect the quality of the water," he said.

It appears the last time the tower's wet interior was painted was in 1977 when the structure was built. The wet interior is a big concern because without adequate protecive tive coating, water inside the tank comes in direct contact with bare metal surfaces, causing corrosion, which can structurally damage and weaken the tower.

According to Dixon's December 2009 report to the village, the wet interior coating is "brittle and has poor adhesion."

When speaking with this reporter back in January, Dixon Engineering Project Manager Thomas Rounds rated the condition of the wet interior's coating as a "two" on a scale of 1-10.

"It's been shot for many years," Round told this reporter.

Although $7,000 in potential savings sounded good to Councilman Tony Albensi, he agreed with Benner that the interior needs to be taken care of as soon as possible.

"I personally would like to see it all done at once and I'd like to see it done this fall," he said.

Benner suggested the tower's exterior could wait and be painted in the spring.

The last time the tower's exterior was painted was in 2003.

According to Dixon's inspection report, the exterior paint job is "performing worse than would be expected for a six-year-old coating."

"While the coating may appear to have an acceptable aesthetic quality, the actual condition is poor," the report stated. "Adhesion is fair and many, minor coating breaks will soon appear, allowing rust to form on the surface."

"I know that part of the reason it's so deteriorated now is because of the improper paint (that was used)," said village President Teri Stiles.

Lavoie agreed.

"You didn't use the best product, so you got some poor results," he said.

Ultimately, council directed village Manager Joe Young to discuss with V&T Painting the possibility of doing the tower's interior this fall and exterior next spring, and if there's still a potential savings.

Young's to report back to council at its next meeting on Aug. 24.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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