If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, then Rodney and Donna Hennig have been flattering Mother Nature for nearly 25 years with their water tank murals such as the designs in Oak Harbor, Wash. The murals mimic the adjoining wooded area using protective coatings from Tnemec. “People tell us they can’t believe that something as utilitarian as a water tank can be made to fit in with the environment,” acknowledged Rodney Hennig who together with his wife, Donna, has designed more than 75 water tank murals across the U.S. “And 95 percent of those tanks have used Tnemec coatings,” he said.
The Oak Harbor project involved renovation of existing 2-million-gallon and 500,000-gallon tanks, which had their original coating systems removed prior to recoating by Washington Industrial Coatings. “Typically, a tank receives primer, intermediate and finish coats before work is started on the mural,” Hennig noted. “We usually try to follow the painters shortly after they finish, usually within hours or a few days.”
The interior coating system specified Series 91-H2O Hydro-Zinc, a moisture-cured, zinc-rich urethane primer, followed by 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 coating system specified Series 91-H2O as a primer, and an intermediate coat of Series N69 Hi-Build Epoxoline II, an advanced generation polyamidoamine epoxy. The topcoat was Series 740 UVX, an advanced technology polyurethane, which offers superior color and gloss retention and low volatile organic compounds (VOC) content. Series 740 UVX was also used for the Oak Harbor murals. “We want to make sure the mural coating is going to last as long as the coating on the tank,” Hennig explained.
The coatings were applied by two artists working from a manlift boom who used rollers, which are much faster than using brushes. “When the tank is nestled in trees, we will typically design the mural to imitate what’s there so it will blend into the tree line,” Hennig added. “If the tank is in front of trees, then we paint those trees on the front of the tank so they continue the tree line.”
In addition to treescapes, Hennig Mural Design, Inc. has created desert scenes and pastoral murals, such as the 5-million-gallon tank in Lynden, Wash., which was selected Tank of the Year in 2006 by the Steel Plate Fabricator’s Association. That mural features a mountain, fields, a barn, cows and other details familiar to the local community.