Just what is this 120 foot tall thing in White Oak?

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 12:47 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 22, 2021 at 5:08 PM CDT
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WHITE OAK, Texas (KLTV) - If you’re driving down White Oak Road you might spot it: a 120-foot-tall ... thing.

Is it a silo? Or maybe a giant work of art?

Whatever it is, it’s right there near White Oak High School and it’s hard to miss. It seems there was something else there before, and as it begins dropping, it’s pretty obvious what it really is: a water tower.

It turns out Tanksco Inc. has been hired to recondition and repaint it, and high-wire man Felipe Chavez was willing to explain the process to me.

“We start rigging everything; the cables. We start little by little putting this containment up before we even do anything because as you see, there’s too many houses and cars around here that we wouldn’t want to damage,” Chavez said.

So the next step after the tarp is up puts a whole bunch of sand to use.

“The dust we make inside won’t come out here. What the dust collector does is suck up all the dust and won’t let it come out,” Chavez said.

Martha Randall lives straight across the street from the tower, and is a bit excited to see the finished product. She says the tarp is doing its job.

“We can hear the noise but we don’t see the dust and all the things, yes,” Randall said.

They don’t leave the sand just laying there, either.

“When we finish the blast we pick it up and put it in the bags,” Chavez said.

It can’t be reused and is disposed of. Then they spray a coat of paint, and roll a final coat. It’s time consuming but every year they do quite a few.

“About six or seven,” Chavez said.

The six of them have been doing this together for several years.

“Were you nervous at first?”

“Well, yeah, first when I started it was a little scary, but after awhile, well, it’s normal for us now,” Chavez said.

They, of course, use harnesses on the tower.

“We try to be safe all the time that we’re up there,” Chavez said.

“So in your off time, do you go mountain climbing?” I asked him.

“No, no,” Chavez smiled.

“That’s enough of that,” I said.

“That’s enough of that,” he agreed.

And yes, they will be doing the logo on the tower before they get their heads in clouds in another town and do it all again.

The cost for painting inside and outside the elevated and ground storage tanks is $547,000, according to the White Oak 2020-2021 budget. The project will take about three months to complete.

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