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It’s official: Water tower bears town’s name –

by Terri Hogan

Senior Staff Writer

Olney’s new water tower now bears the town’s name.

On June 14, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) workers painted “Olney” on two sides of the new tower, or standpipe, at 17710 Buehler Road.

The lettering was carefully placed for the best visibility— facing northbound Georgia Avenue and the Fair Hill shopping center at Olney-Sandy Spring (Route 108) and Spartan roads.

It will be more visible when the leaves are off the trees.

Each “Olney” is 37 feet long.

WSSC Systems Control Division manager Karen Wright said that the lettering is done with stencils which are outlined in dots, and then filled in.

Greater Olney Civic Association (GOCA) representative Carolyn Knight watched the painting take place.

“The south-facing (Georgia Avenue) had been done in the morning when it was more in the shade,” she said. “It took 20-30 minutes per letter. Excellent planning around the movement of the light and shade.”

While the standpipe was under construction last year, leaders of GOCA and the Olney Chamber of Commerce appealed to WSSC to have “Olney” painted on the tower.

WSSC agreed, and the intent was to complete the painting before the tank was raised last fall. However, because the weather turned cold abruptly, the painting was postponed.

The new water storage facility is designed to improve local water quality and system pressure reliability, as well as increase the usable volume of water stored in the tank. It will provide water for drinking and fire protection to the community.

The existing tank, built in 1963, was due for replacement.

Wright said the new standpipe is not yet operational. It is scheduled to be filled with water in the fall, and then the five antennas on the top of the old tower need to be removed and installed on the new tower.

Once that is completed and the new tower is placed in service, the old tower will be dismantled, probably by late spring or early summer of next year.

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