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Cost to Metalize

Metallizing for Corrosion Control
Introduction to Metallizing
I-71 Overpass metallized in 1986. Photographed in 1998.
Long Service Life - The Kugler Mill Tank
Metalizing for Potable Water Tanks

Cincinnati, Ohio -- The Kugler Mill elevated tank was a one million gallon elevated steel tank built in 1950. Its water came from various pumping stations at off-peak times for later distribution during peak demand hours. The System outgrew the Kugler Mill tank during the five decades after it was built and was replaced by a new tank at a higher elevation, and in a location to provide for a wider service area.

The original interior paint coating reportedly failed after about eight years in service. Faced with this failure and the need to build and maintain eight new elevated storage tanks during the 1960's, the Superintendent of Water Supply decided to evaluate the use of metalizing. After thorough consideration of coating cost and expected service life, the Cincinnati Water System elected to metalize its new tanks beginning in 1960. The Kugler Mill tank was one of the first to be metalized.

Through the 1960's the eight additional tanks were metalized with zinc. Since about 1969, three more tanks have been metalized for a system-wide total of twelve metalized tanks of various sizes and uses.

The metalizing specification requires coating all interior surfaces. According to the current Superintendent of Water Supply, the metalized tanks have required no subsequent re-metalizing. The zinc coatings, several of which are now more than 30 years old, continue to protect the Cincinnati Water System's steel tanks.

This is a case where life cycle cost and value were properly considered. Those responsible for spending the taxpayers' money chose the lowest cost option - metalizing - and have saved those same taxpayers hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars, which would have been spent had they continued to paint and repaint water tank interiors.

Remember, that when you decide to paint, you accept the total cost, the initial cost plus all maintenance repainting costs for the life of the structure.

During demolition of the Kugler Mill tank samples of the steel were preserved for coating evaluation. These samples were submitted to a metallurgical lab to examine and comment on the condition of the remaining coating.

According to the lab, "A continuous zinc coating generally over 100 Ám (.004") thick was observed on the samples taken from above the water line and at the water line (an area of alternating wet / dry cycles). The sample obtained from an area of constant immersion had a discontinuous zinc coating covering about 50% of the surface examined".

Complete details of this project, coating performance, photos and a life-cycle-cost (LCC) analysis, will soon be available through www.metalizing.com/newsletter.



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