Look Ma! No scaffolding

Water storage tank is getting a makeover

FLINT TWP. — In all the years that Sue Devic has lived near the big blue elevated water storage tank at Beecher and Elms roads, she’s seen it painted twice. But this time around, Devic is curious about what she says is a different method being used to paint it.

The work crews are not using scaffolding.

“They have been working for a few weeks and now have a complete set of “clothes” on it,” Devic said of a tarp covering the towering tank from top to bottom.

Following up on Devic’s request for more information about the paint job led to the Genesee County Water and Waste Services.

Workers installed the top-to-bottom tarp to contain dust while sandblasting beneath it, said Tim Davidek, chief of operations and maintenance for GCWWS. The tarp is lowered at night in case of strong winds and raised each morning while the workers are on site. After the old paint is sandblasted off, the tank will be primed for a new coat. It will be repainted blue similar to its old color.

The crew is a professional team from the Detroit area who were the low bidders for the project. Water tank painting is a specialized service that not just anybody can do, Davidek said.

As for the lack of scaffolding, Davidek said that’s not used any more. The paint crews move up and down the tower using harnesses and pulleys on cables similar to what window washers use when painting tall buildings.

Davidek would allow a peek under the tarp where the workers are sandblasting because of safety rules that must be followed at a construction site.

Work is expected to be completed on the 120-day project in July, Davidek said.

The 180-foot tall, one million gallon water tank serves the western side of Genesee County and was last painted in 1997.

‘We paint our tanks every 10-15 years,” Davidek said.

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