Water tower looks new again

Painters, suspended nearly 100 feet in the air, apply a primer coat of paint to the water tower legs.

HOLT, Fla., Nov. 9, 2020—Holt’s iconic water tower got a facelift last week.

The 75,00-gallon tank and tower was pressure washed, scraped, primed and repainted from top to bottom with the work completed by Nov. 6.

A three-man crew, using scaffolding suspended more than 100 feet in the air under the tower, completed the power washing before Hurricane Zeta made landfall. Zeta’s winds prevented the crew from returning to work until winds died down four days later.

Painters scrape the rusty areas on the bottom of the water tank before applying a primer coat.

Returning to the job, the crew hand scraped rusting areas before priming the entire tower. Although the primer coat dried quickly, the team gave it 24 hours before applying the outer aluminum-based coat.

The final touch was painting the Holt name and fill markers on the tank.

Holt Water has a contract to maintain both water towers, which calls for inspections and painting when needed. The last time the outside of the tower was painted was in January 2011.

The interior of the tank is inspected every other year. It’s drained and cleaned before inspection and repainted inside, if necessary. The inside was repainted in 2013.

Holt’s water system was a keystone project initiated by the Holt Ruritan Club in 1965. The club secured a U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmers Home Administration government loan for $125,000 to build the system.

Initially planned for 143 subscribers, when the system went active in 1967, Holt Water Works Inc. had 171 members. 

Today, Holt Water has more than 900 customers.

A plaque on one of the water tower legs identifies the date it was built, how much water the tank holds and how high the structure is.

The water tower was built in 1967 by Chicago Steel & Iron Co. It was manufactured using Birmingham steel from Alabama and cost almost $30,000 to build and install. It’s tripod legs reach up more than 103 feet into the sky.

It cost $18,000 for Pensacola’s Spillers Well & Pump Co. to dig a 6-inch well about 530 feet into Florida’s limestone aquifer. As a result, very little treatment is required beyond chlorine to control any contaminants.

Noonan Construction Co. Inc., also from Pensacola, was the contractor for the water distribution system consisting of about 8 miles of water main line, piping, fire hydrants and meters at the time. The final bill, at nearly $60,000, was almost twice as much as the cost of the tank.

Today, Holt Water has more than 63 miles of service lines with nearly 1,000 connections and 130 fire hydrants.

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