Holland water tower project in full swing

Photos by Kaiti Sullivan/The Herald
Phoenix Fabricators & Erectors employees renovate the Holland water tower on Tuesday, July 30. The company will work seven days a week to rehabilitate and paint the tower.


HOLLAND — The curtain is literally about to rise on the next phase of the Town of Holland’s $1.13 million water tower project.

Phoenix Fabricators & Erectors, an Avon company that specializes in manufacturing and erecting water tanks, has erected the new, 50,000-gallon water tank at Stendal. All it needs is paint.

The company has been in Holland the last week preparing to sandblast and paint the 200,000-gallon Holland water tower near the elementary school. A protective curtain will be hoisted up around the tower in the coming days.

Phoenix’s Dalton Hurst, the foreman on the Holland work, says the company will work seven days a week to get the Holland tower rehabilitated and painted. Sandblasting comes first, with painting still three or four weeks away. The entire job should take about two months.

Hurst says the sandblasting will be a little noisy but crews will wait until Sunday afternoon to begin work in deference to Sunday church services. The containment curtain should go up in three or four days and sandblasting should start no later than Monday, Aug. 19.

The containment curtain is hoisted up by 22 outrigger arms jutting out 11 feet from the tower. No air can get in or out of the curtain, which is similar to parachute material, once it is in place, according to the foreman.

“It is wild,” Hurst said.

Holland is taking its water tower offline for the work. That has resulted in a couple of water main breaks and subsequent boil advisories the last week as the town went to a temporarily closed, direct-feed system.

Councilwoman Melanie Barrett says the latest boil advisory is still in place but samples thus far have come back clear.

Phoenix Fabricators & Erectors employees renovate the Holland water tower on Tuesday, July 30.

“I have to take another (sample) up tomorrow for this last break,” Barrett said today. “We’ve just got really, really old pipes. We’re direct feeding. The fluctuating pressure is just tough.”

Anyone noticing a suspected water line break is asked to quickly call Town Hall at 812-536-3640.

“As soon as we find it,” Barrett said, “we can isolate it, valve down and then everyone else has water. I don’t care if we’ve got 25 people calling in.”

Barrett knows the main breaks have been an inconvenience. The town is even looking into the possibility of making bottled water available at Town Hall.

Derick Wiggins of Midwestern Engineers gave Holland Town Council members an update on the ongoing water tower work during Wednesday night’s town board meeting.

Holland’s tower is getting pits and seams addressed and a new ladder installed but Stendal’s new tower was built from scratch to replace a smaller, 20,000-gallon sphere dating to 1960.

Hurst says Phoenix’s fabricating facilities roll, cut, bend and prime the steel for water tanks. The company also has its own concrete crews, welders and builders.

“Guys like me come behind and (sandblast) it, paint it and put the logos on,” Hurst said. “The only thing we don’t do is electrical work.”

The job of moving Holland’s weather warning siren that sits by the water tower went to Harmonic Electronics and Fischer Electric last week. Vectren moved an electric line out of the way on short notice, as well.

Crew members doing Holland’s work are part of a tight-knit Phoenix family, Hurst says.

“We take you in as family,” the foreman said, “and we have the best safety record in the country.”

Hurst says Holland’s tower will get green primer but its final paint color — and that of Stendal’s new tower — will be a pale yellow or cream similar to the existing hue.

Barrett says painting on Stendal’s water tank could begin next week. The lettering on both towers will be red, with Stendal sporting block letters and Holland sticking with the same script on its tank.

Financing for the project includes a $600,000 grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and a 19.3% rate increase implemented this spring. The Lockhart Township Community Club has contributed to the project by donating the land north of the existing Stendal tower where its replacement was erected.

“It’s an exciting project for us,” said Holland Town Board President Tom Thacker.

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