This Treatment Plant Turned an Ugly Concrete Wall Into a City Attraction

A once-ugly wall at a Georgia water plant comes to life with vibrant colors with a mural showing the water cycle.
This Treatment Plant Turned an Ugly Concrete Wall Into a City Attraction
The mural turned what had been an unsightly wall into a visual pleasure for passers-by and visitors.

The operators and staff of the Fayette County Water System are proud of their 2016 People’s Choice: Best of the Best Tasting Tap Water Award from the Georgia Association of Water Professionals.

They are also proud of the 98-foot-long mural that graces the front walls of the highly visible settling basins at the 13.5 mgd Crosstown Water Treatment Plant in Peachtree City. “The mural covers what used to be just a nasty-looking concrete wall,” says Lee Pope, system director. “Now it’s something that lots of people want to stop and take a picture of.”

Pictures of life

The colorful 12-foot-high mural shows the cycle of water and is interspersed with images of wildlife such as turtles and fish, and of people drinking clear water. Highlights and the transition between scenes are created with a contrast of bold colors and soft shades.

Pope says county commissioner Steve Brown led the effort to create the mural. Two years ago, as chairman of the county’s all-volunteer Public Arts Committee, Brown inspired a call for artists to submit their ideas and concepts for the nearly 1,200-square-foot mural.

From the six responses received, the 11-member arts committee chose the proposal from Atlanta resident Pash Lima. The Fayette County Buildings and Grounds Department prepared the concrete surfaces for painting by power washing, caulking cracks and applying a coat of Sherman Williams Loxon concrete sealer and primer.

Large timbers and a gravel walkway strategically placed in front of the settling basins buffer the mural from any ground maintenance work. “It’s just another way to protect the mural so that string trimmers and tractors don’t get at it,” Pope says.

Lengthy project

It took Lima nearly three months to complete his original and unique painting. About a year after completion, any necessary touch-up painting will be done and the mural will be sealed with a coat of Sherman Williams Loxon XP.

The Fayette County Commission honored Lima during an arts committee meeting. The members also recognized the management of a local hotel for contributing a free room for Lima during his work on the mural. Funding for the $20,000 project was shared by the arts committee and the water system.

Pope says the idea for the mural was an expansion of the desire to paint the concrete walls to project a better image to the public. The painting is part of a larger initiative to spruce up the county through art, such as by painting fire hydrants and holding sidewalk chalk-art contests.

The Crosstown Water Treatment Plant is on the main access road to the popular Lake McIntosh Park and recreational area. Completed in 2013, the 650-acre lake is only a mile from the Crosstown facility. The heavily used 14-acre park includes a boat launch, hiking trails, picnic pavilion, gazebo and restrooms. Lake McIntosh is one of four raw-water reservoirs for the county.

Pope says it’s been good to hear the positive public feedback about the mural because it confirms that the project meets the arts committee’s goal to enhance the county’s reputation by using art to enrich citizens’ lives. “The best outcome, though, is the impact it has on the operators,” says Pope. “They feel they are getting noticed in a positive way rather than just as having slapped on a little paint. It’s good to see.”


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