Silver Lake Water Tank Mural

associated markets
Water Storage Tanks
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The last place you might expect to find award-winning artwork is on a ground storage tank, but in Mill Creek, Wash., an 8-million-gallon steel water tank specified with Tnemec coatings was recognized in 2010 for its aesthetic merit by the Society for Protective Coatings (SSPC). “The tank features a tree mural that’s designed to blend into the surrounding landscape,” according to Tnemec coating consultant Scott McConnell, who created the artwork for the painting contractor. “What I provided to them was a pounce pattern, which is a simple format for laying out artwork.”

The new water tank replaced a 1-million-gallon ground storage tank that was designed with one of McConnell’s murals several years earlier. “When the new tank was built, the owner wanted the same style of artwork, so we put together a mural for the much larger tank, which ended up winning the SSPC award,” McConnell explained. “The original water tank had become a landmark in the community, which is why they wanted the new tank to mimic the same design.”Silver Lake Water Tank Mural

Both interior and exterior steel was prepared in accordance with SSPC-SP6/ NACE No. 3 Commercial Blast Cleaning prior to coating with Series 91 H2O Hydro-Zinc, a moisture-cured, zinc-rich urethane primer. The interior also received a coat of Series 141 Epoxoline, a high-solids modified polyamine epoxy, which is certified in accordance with ANSI/NSF Std. 61 for use in potable water.

The exterior of the tank received an intermediate coat of Series N69 Hi-Build Epoxoline II, an advanced generation polyamidoamine epoxy, followed by a topcoat of Series 73 Endura-Shield, an aliphatic acrylic. A finish coat of Series 76 Endura-Clear, an aliphatic acrylic polyurethane, provided enhanced ultraviolet (UV) light resistance. “The tank was completely painted with a full Tnemec coating system before the mural was applied,” McConnell noted. “The mural covers about 70 percent of the tank, which almost represents an additional coat.”

Using McConnell’s pattern, which is traced onto large roles of butcher paper using a pounce wheel, the painting contractor was able to spray-apply different colors used in the mural. “The pattern was created from photographs of the area and resulted in more of a solid graphic, rather than a mural created from individual brush strokes,” McConnell added. “The mural continues 360 degrees around the tank and fills in the tree line regardless of what direction the tank is viewed from.”

The tank received the SSPC award named for the late William Johnson, a consultant whose work in coatings formulation, failure analysis, and surface preparation was instrumental in advancing the industry.

project information

Project Name

Silver Lake Water Tank Mural

Project Location

Mill Creek, WA

Project Completion Date

August 2008


Silver Lake Water and Sewer District, Bothell, WA


T-Bailey, Anacortes, WA

Field Applicator

National Industrial Painting, Tacoma, WA