Indiana Town Turns Dated Water Tank Into Focal Point

Riveting Retro Water Tower Serves as Local Landmark for One of the Country’s “Best Suburbs”

When the city of Carmel, Indiana, was named one of the “50 Best Suburbs in America” by Business Insider, city officials knew it was time to do something about the unsightly water tank at the center of their planned “Midtown Carmel” development project.

Serving as the crossroads for the Carmel City Center and the Carmel Arts & Design District, the Midtown Carmel project was initiated to revitalize a historically industrial area of town – creating a public plaza, retail and office space, and multifamily living options at the heart of the city. But standing between beautiful renderings and breaking ground was an aging and unattractive 500,000-gallon elevated water tank.

That’s when the city decided to rehab the tank as a landmark of the revitalized midtown area. As an homage to the city’s past and the historical feel of midtown, a retro concept came to mind – complete with faux rivets to recreate the appearance of an old-time steel tank.

Consulting with a Trusted Partner
Due to the unique and challenging circumstances surrounding the South Elevated Tank repair and recoating project, city planners called on Indianapolis-based Tank Industry Consultants (TIC) – a company they have relied on for expertise since 1990 – for tank engineering and inspection services.

A team from TIC provided expert advice and specifications for the rehabilitation project to meet both the city’s strict criteria and quickly approaching Midtown Carmel revitalization project deadlines. Among the advice TIC offered was the specification of long-lasting coating systems that would greatly extend the time frame for recoating the tank in the future. The tank’s physical location and the placement of communication antennas from four different companies on the tank would make future repairs and recoating precarious and costly. The robust coating systems selected will encourage asset longevity.

A Classic Approach to Application
Classic Protective Coatings, Inc. of Menomonie, Wisconsin, was selected to undertake the repair and recoating project for the City of Carmel. Crews began by completing welding repairs to strut ends, riser rod pins and overflow pipe brackets. To meet AWWA D100 Standards for Welded Carbon Steel Tanks for Water Storage, they added new ladders, safe-climbing ladder devices, and ladder vandal deterrent bars and side plates. Other improvements included balcony safety railing and access, as well as roof railing, clog-resistant vent pallet, transition cone railing, riser manhole, and overflow weir box repairs. The crew also installed brackets and fittings for a future cathodic protection system.

Contractors worked to relocate the communication equipment and install a Class 2A Containment system that was specified for the project, per Section of the SSPC-Guide 6 “Guide for Containing Surface Preparation Debris Generated During Paint Removal Operations.” The coatings crew performed blast cleaning using a non-metallic, expendable abrasive to remove the old coatings – meeting the requirements of SSPC-AB-1. Before beginning the coating application, the crew welded any structurally significant pits revealed during blasting and filled in other pits containing sharp, difficult-to-clean edges with epoxy coating.

Coating the Tank Inside and Out
Sherwin-Williams Protective & Marine Coatings served as the coating supplier of choice to help the six-column Carmel, Indiana, water tower stand out as a local landmark. Classic Protective Coatings primed the interior of the tank with Corothane® I GalvaPac zinc primer and applied Dura-Plate® UHS primer as the finish coat. TIC specified the high-build Dura-Plate UHS coating because it provides excellent adhesion and can be applied up to 50 mils in a single coat – allowing for fast returns to service. The coating’s quick cure times expedited the interior coating project and allowed applicators to start work on the exterior sooner – ultimately putting the tank back in service in time to meet increased water demands for the summer months.

Following the application and cure, the coatings crew holiday tested interior surfaces of the structure to detect any voids in the coating in accordance with AWWA D102 and NACE SP0188 standards. The project specifications modified the AWWA D102 standard to include testing below the high-water level inside the tank. The crew also applied Corothane I GalvaPac zinc primer to the tank exterior, accompanied by Macropoxy® 646 fast cure epoxy coating as a stripe coat for additional protection on weld seams and sharp edges.

Applicators next applied an intermediate coat of Hi-Solids Polyurethane coating followed by a finish coat of FluoroKem™ HS fluoropolymer urethane semi-gloss coating to the entire exterior. Various colors of FluoroKem HS contribute to the retro tank theme, which includes the striped Mortar and Cirrus White tank bottom and legs, Deck Red top and inlet/outlet pipe, and Walnut Brown 3.5-inch faux rivets that adorn select locations on the tank exterior. In addition, applicators used FluoroKem HS Cirrus White to paint a 6-foot-tall, block-letter “CARMEL” logo on the north and south faces of the tank.

The three-coat system of Corothane I GalvaPac primer, Hi-Solids Polyurethane coating, and FluoroKem HS coating was designed to extend the asset life and decrease the frequency of recoating in the future by providing excellent gloss and color retention.

Standing Tall
As more and more communities undergo meaningful revitalization projects, residents and city officials of Carmel, Indiana, should be proud of their successful Midtown Carmel development initiative – complete with their long-lasting and riveting landmark watching over the robust area from above.

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