SAUK RAPIDS -- This week in our "Behind the Scenes" series on WJON, we find out what's going on at the Sauk Rapids balloon water tower.

The signature balloon water tower has been getting a face lift over the last month, for the first time since 1996. 


Scott Kriese is the Project Supervisor with KLM Engineering working on the site. He says before they can begin, an inspection on the water tower is done.

"The city will hire us to come to an assessment of the structure, interior, exterior all areas of the structure for AWWA compliance," says Kriese.

After the inspection is complete, it's time to raise the curtain and sandblast the tower from top to bottom to remove the old coating.

"We use black diamond to sandblast with, very coarse so it creates a nice angular profile in the steel. About 75 percent of our time is just on the sandblasting and getting rid of the old coating," says Kriese.

Once the water tower is back to bare steel, painting can begin. The paint is applying by first spraying, and the final coat is rolled and brushed, and you can imagine the amount of paint is needed.

"I would say on a daily basis you're anywhere from 20 to 60 gallons of paint a day," says Kriese.

Kriese says weather plays the biggest factor when it comes to finishing a project this size, but if all goes well the balloon will fly proudly above the city for another 20 years.

"I would say by this time next week you will be pretty close to having your tower back to normal," says Kriese.

While the tower will be painted as a balloon, Public Works Director Craig Nelson says there will be slight changes to the colors and letter styling.

You can see what it's like inside a water tower by watching a past "Behind the Scenes" story.

The Sauk Rapids Balloon water tower (left) is the the process of a face lift (right). (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON)
The Sauk Rapids Balloon water tower (left) is the the process of a face lift (right). (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON)

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