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August 14, 2013

Lead leads to Sellersburg water tower project cost increase

$71,000 change order approved to address lead in paint

SELLERSBURG — Lead paint uncovered during the refurbishment of Sellersburg’s downtown water tower will increase the cost of the project but not endanger the town’s water supply, according to officials.

The lead was discovered recently on the exterior of the tower as workers with Caldwell Tanks stripped the old layers of paint off the structure as it was being prepared for a new look.

The town’s two water towers — the other one is off of Ind. 60 — are being refurbished as part of a rehabilitation project to infrastructure throughout its water system.

According to the town council the last time the exterior of the water tower was painted was in 1992 and the last time the interior was scrubbed was 1975. A contract was approved with Caldwell Tanks to complete the work at a cost of $578,500 in April. The cost to paint the downtown water tower was $319,600 and the cost to paint a water tower off of Ind. 60 is $258,900.

Sellersburg Municipal Works Director Ken Alexander said the painting of the tank off of Ind. 60 has already been completed.

But because of the discovery of the hazardous substance on the downtown tank, the cost of painting the tower will increase more than 20 percent. Sellersburg’s Town Council on Monday approved a change order for $71,070 to remove lead paint from the tank in downtown Sellersburg.

Despite the issue on the exterior of the tank, there are no issues with lead being present in the water in Sellersburg.

“There are no water quality issues,” Alexander said. He said part of the regular water testing that takes place in the town is testing for lead, and none has been present.

The money to pay for repainting the water towers is coming from a bond anticipation note on a $5 million bond sought to make improvements to the water system. In addition to refurbishing the water towers, Sellersburg is planning to drill two new supply wells, construct a new booster station and a new 500,000-gallon water storage tank.

Both tanks will be painted white with the town’s name appearing on the downtown tank.

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