The Washington City Council Monday approved an ordinance to begin seeking bids paint the city’s Crestview Water Tower

The ordinance allows the city to enter into an engineering agreement with Donohue Associates, Inc., Chesterfield, to provide services at the cost of $33,000.

Water/Wastewater Superintendent Kevin Quaethem said the project is expected to begin in the fall and is estimated to take three months or more to complete.

The council approved the ordinance with an 8-0 vote.

Donohue has been tasked with preparing the specifications and estimating the cost to repaint the tower. Now that the council approved a contract, bidding can begin and the city can nail down a vendor for the work.

The landmark water tower needs a fresh coat of paint because rust has started to show. The painting is estimated to cost between $600,000-$700,000. Money has been allocated in the 2016-17 budget for the project.

The tower has reached its limit on coats of paint — at a certain thickness the paint no longer sticks. To paint the tower now, all previous paint has to be removed. The whole tower has to be completely stripped down to the base.

During the stripping process, the entire tower will have to be completely contained. Since the base layer was painted with lead paint, Quaethem said a “big canvas” will be needed to cover the tower.

Quaethem has said the work could begin sooner, but it would cost more. He’s been told the fall is a less busy time for vendors.

The actual color or look of the tower is still to be decided. Quaethem added he wants a specific type of paint for the final coat.

Quaethem has said he wants to still have a “Washington” label on the tower, but he’s not sure if it’s going to change to a different font or look.

Quaethem noted the current block black lettering would cost about $2,500 to $3,000. The only real change is that Quaethem would like to add the city’s website url, www.ci.washington.mo.us/, to the tower.