Of course, one on Coleraine Drive on the west side of Bolton, Ont. might be generating a little more attention as it is now ringed with scaffolding for a two-phase exterior and interior rehabilitation project by Waterloo-based BGL Contractors Group.
"Water towers create pressure in the water supply system," says Ty Jardine, a technical analyst with the water division of Peel Region's public works department in explaining their importance.
Like all municipal assets, however, water towers and underground reservoirs have to be kept in a state of good repair, says Jardine, a former construction project manager and a coating specialist.
"If the concrete in reservoirs and the steel in towers are left unprotected from chlorinated water there will be degradation, which left untreated can lead to structural failure," he says.
To assess the structural integrity of water towers and reservoirs, assessments are conducted by the manufacturer, a third party consultant and the region, he explains.
And those assessments are conducted on a regular basis as part of a now eight-year-old accelerated inspection and refurbishment of Peel's water distribution system, which consists of a series of underground reservoirs in Mississauga and Brampton, four water towers and two reservoirs in the Town of Caledon.
Two of those towers are in Bolton and the one on Coleraine Drive, built in the 1990s, will receive an approximately five-month-long refurbishment consisting of sandblasting and then the application of an epoxy coating, first to the interior, then to the exterior.
"Each structure that we have coated with epoxy has a potential life of 20 to 25 years before the coatings fail, which is why the Bolton Tower is undergoing repairs," says Jardine, who compares the operation to painting a room.
There are many integrated steps in the rehabilitation that have to follow a set procedure.
"First the tank had to be shut off and the water drained into storm drains or holding ponds," he says.
Since the Bolton water supply system is a "looped" one still served by the second tower, there is no danger of water storage, says Jardine.
Next was the erection of the 300-metre-high scaffolding by Scafom Canada Inc. This creates a "controlled area" warning the public to stay away from what is basically a construction site and will enable BGL to immediately commence working on the exterior after the first-stage interior wall rehabilitation is completed.
That interior work requires a team to climb a long flight of stairs leading from the column into the tank. Working from a swing-stage hung from a painter's rail and wearing respiratory equipment, they are sandblasting the original coating.
"It has to be taken back to the bare metal," Jardine says.
The sandblasting will have to be inspected and approved by consulting engineers R.V. Anderson Associates before the epoxy coating can be applied.
After the interior has been completed, the contractor will commence with the exterior work from the scaffolding which will be wrapped with tarp to control dust.
If the project continues into late fall, the scaffolding will also be used to house heating units, says Jardine.
"We should be finished in October," says BGL project manager Wiam Joudi.
Prior to the sandblasting/epoxy coating phase of the project which started in early June, BGL had been on site for two months carrying out a number of structural, electrical and mechanical upgrades, says Joudi.
Water towers can "withstand the test of time" if they are treated on a regular basis, adds Jardine, citing one still operating in the United States that is more than a century old.
Sometimes they can be converted to another use if degradation is too extensive, as was the case with a tower near the Meadowvale GO train station in Mississauga. Although the tank had to be removed, the column was still solid. After some modifications it was converted into a Peel Region Police communications tower in 2016, says Jardine.