Save from preconstruction site work, things are quiet at the Crestview water tower.

That won’t be the case much longer. In a few weeks Maquire Iron will be on-site and ready to start the painting project.

Water/Wastewater Superintendent Kevin Quaethem said he recently met with the project’s superintendent and it’s looking like right now, the work will begin in mid-March.

To prepare for the work, Quaethem said city crews recently removed bushes and a tree at the site. He said the bushes and tree were in the area where the canopy would be and needed to be removed.

Quaethem said the tree and bushes were not worth saving. They will likely be replaced when the project is finished.

After awarding a contract to Maguire Iron, Sioux Falls, S.D., in November, the project is on track to be completed by May 15.

Maguire Iron will strip all the existing paint off the tower before applying a fresh new coat. The project will cost $598,100.

The paint removal portion of the project will require the tower to be tented to prevent the lead-based paint from escaping the site. Quaethem said with the tent system, the city and Maguire need to be safe. That means that during high winds — speeds above 15 mph — work will have to stop and the tent taken down.

Quaethem said the city is making plans for what will go on the tower, including picking out the paint color.

The bulk of the tank is likely to be a light blue color called “clear sky.” A second color, a darker blue, may be used on the underside of the tank. The idea is to make the area where it’s moldy now a darker color so new mold won’t show up as much.

Once the tower is painted, the city is working out what it wants printed on it. Right now the tower simply reads “Washington” in simple block letters, but, Quaethem said a more script wordmark is being considered.

Additionally, he said the tower will display the URL for the city’s website:

Once the paint is applied, Quaethem said the new coat should last 25 years.

In addition to the painting, Maguire will be replacing failing interior pipe and adding a mixing system to the tower. Quaethem said the interior pipe will be the first thing replaced.

The water tower is structurally sound, but needs to be repainted as rust has started to show. The current paint has already reached a certain thickness where new paint can’t be added. That means, all the paint has to be completely removed.

The base layer contains lead-based paint, making the project more challenging than originally anticipated when the board of public works first began talking about the work in 2016.

Because of the lead-based paint involved, Donohue & Associates was selected in May to be the city’s engineering firm for the painting project. The contract will pay Donohue $33,000 for the service.

Money is already allocated for the project in the current year’s budget.

The Crestview tower was built in the 1970s. Quaethem said with regular maintenance, it could have a 100-year life span.