Bryan’s two water towers are in fairly good condition and, with proper vigilance and maintenance, could continue to serve the city for decades to come.
That was the message of Daryl Bowling, a water system consultant at the Suez corporation, who spoke to the Bryan Board of Public Affairs during their regular meeting Tuesday after conducting an inspection of the water towers.
BMU officials said the two towers — the “Fountain City Tower,” on East Perry Street, just west of Union Street, and the “Bryan Tower,” on West Mulberry Street, near Spangler Candy Co. — were last coated in 2005 and 2004, respectively.
Bowling said Suez’s in-depth study of the towers shows that they were coated using different methods and thus have different issues to be concerned about.
The Fountain City Tower, which Bowling called a “better product” between the two, was coated in such a way that water collects and sweats on the underside of the tank’s exterior, resulting in the noticeable mold growth that can currently be seen there.
He said this was a “natural process” and while the mold is not aesthetically pleasing, “You could clean it off now and drive by in a year and guess what, it looks just the same as it does now.”
On the other hand, he compared the Bryan Tower’s exterior coating to “lacquer on wood.”
He said because this coating is clear, while it’s attractive, it’s difficult to ensure that the structure is evenly coated. As a result, some spots on this tower are deteriorating faster than others. It’s also impossible to paint over this type of coating because it’s so slick, he said.
He provided the board with a 10-year plan for maintaining the towers, with a cost breakdown. He recommended an overcoat application to the exterior in 2022 for the Bryan Tower and 2023 for the Fountain City Tower; a full interior replacement in 2026 for the Bryan Tower and 2027 for the Fountain City Tower; and a washout and inspection in 2030 and 2031 for the respective towers; as well as visual inspections every year. He pegged the total cost for this course at $955,628.
Bowling noted Suez handled 1,900 water tower renovations in 2019 alone (far fewer in 2020 due to the pandemic) and said the city’s towers “will last indefinitely if maintained.”
He pointed out Suez helps maintain a water tower in the Wyandot County village of Carey, said to be one of the oldest in the nation, which has served that community since 1894.