Enon landmark undergoing $300K renovation

Rehabilitation work on Enon water tower is expected to take about 90 days. PAM COTTREL/CONTRIBUTOR
Rehabilitation work on Enon water tower is expected to take about 90 days. PAM COTTREL/CONTRIBUTOR

Standing over our town like a sentinel, the Enon water tower is kind of like a giant stick pin that marks Enon’s location on a map. In a way the name on the tank serves like a city limit sign. If you can read this, you are near Enon.

The water tower is a stable landmark. We also use the water tower in our directions. The easy way to give directions to Enon Relief is to say it is located at the base of the water tower. Or you can say it is behind Enon Veterinary Hospital at 208 West Main Street.

However, Enon’s water tower has been undergoing a few changes lately. At one time the tall white tank with Enon in large back letters was crowned by a circle of electronic devices. For a few years these cell phone antennas gave the tower another job in addition to holding up the water supply to create water pressure.

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Being used as a cell tower also brought in additional funds for a while.

However, those cell phone antennas have recently disappeared. The tower looks like a giant pincushion with poles sticking out of it all angles. In addition to keeping dragons from perching on it, there has to be another reason for this new look.

Back in October of 2018, the village council approved a rehab of the water tower tank which was built in 1958.

Over the years general maintenance had been done but Water Superintendent Jason Rose decided it was time to give the tower a full rehab.

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“We will sandblast, and paint the exterior and interior and recoat the surfaces,” said Rose. “Bring the tower up to new EPA standards.”

Over the years layers of paint had built up, according to Rose, so it would be good to remove multiple layers of paint and get down to the steel. The new interior surface coating is one of the best on the market and should not require more work for at least 20 years.

Access to the water tank also must be improved, said Rose. The access ways and steps will be made wider for easier access by technicians and for safety.

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He laughed when I asked if the spines on the water tower were to keep dragons from perching.

Actually, the spines or poles will be used to hold tarps that will protect the surface during rehab and will keep debris like paint chips and sand from falling on the surface below.

Workers will reach the tank using lifts similar to those used for high rise window washing.

He said that the cell phone antennas will not be replaced. The old ones had been obsolete and hadn’t been used for years. The spruced up tower will not have stuff hanging on it. The spines will be removed also.

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Cost of the entire rehabilitation project will be $313,000, which Rose said is considerably more cost effective than replacement of the 200,000 gallon tank.

The newer tank on Cardinal Drive has a capacity of 400,000 gallons.

Since the tanks are made of steel and elevated into the wind, I could not help but wonder if the tanks freeze in the winter. Pop cans in my car cannot stay out too long without exploding.

“It does freeze to an extent,” he said. “You have to have an output. Moving water in and out often enough that it does not freeze.”

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As he explained, ground water is generally around 50 degrees having a constant input of fresh water and draining as much as 600,000 gallons a day keeps the water moving and above freezing temperatures.

During the coldest part of winter there can be a layer of ice on the top of the water level in the tanks, but it is not thick enough to cause problems.

Keeping up with the Enon’s most precious resource, water, requires lots of training, and certification. Enon has three employees with Class 3 water certification from the EPA, Jason Rose, Tim Howard, and Steve Durrell.

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Wayne has recently earned his Class 1 certification. As technology evolves they must stay on top of the latest innovations in not just water treatment but also in water delivery systems.

Rose estimates that it will take 90 days to complete the entire project.

There have been no decisions on the final color of the exterior of the tank. Whatever color they choose, we will see it for the next 20 years. I hope it’s a good one.