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One agenda item took up most of the councilmembers time Monday night during the latest meeting of the Wellman City Council: the updates on the conditions of the city’s wells.
Andrew Marsh of HR Green was present to take the councilmembers through the issues that took place with the city’s water well number two over the holiday. Dec. 26, Josh Dean of PeopleService Inc. alerted Marsh to the fact that well two, located at the plant and the main source for the city water, was running at a decreased capacity.
In order to do the necessary repairs, well three, which is located outside of town and has had problems previously with the power supply, had to take on the city’s water load. According to Marsh, the water quality on that well is generally not as good, but City Administrator Kelly Litwiller said they had only a couple complaints
While shut down, Gingerich Well and Pump Service ran a camera down well two to try to determine the problem, but got stuck by an obstruction about 90 feet from the bottom of the well, blocking it from seeing the vital part of the well, where most of the water is pumped from, so Northway Well and Pump Co. came in and ran a bailer through to get past the obstruction.
Gingerich and Northway are usually competitors, so Marsh thanked them for working together to get the issue resolved.
In the end, the motor and pump had to be replaced in well two, but Marsh said he was fearing the worst initially.
“There was a 24 hour period there where we didn’t know what was causing the obstruction. We’re fortunate it wasn’t a collapse of that well,” Marsh said.
Now well two is back in service and had the membranes of the well cleaned by Global Water Services (GWS). Marsh is expecting a report both on the cleaning by GWS and for a quote on a leak assessment, which could have a big impact on the membrane life.
The big issue though is whether the city needs to look into a new well. In conversations with Marsh, both Gingerich and Northway suggested a new well. Well two has been in service since the 50s. Marsh estimates that cost to be at around $1 million.
One thing that could be done to help lengthen the life of the well is regular cleaning, which is supposed to be part of the contract the city has with Utility Service. Litwiller says they haven’t had any problem with the company concerning their water tower contract, but since paying $50,000 up front for the well and a $13,000 annual fee that is supposed to include regular reports and cleanings, but they say the company haven’t lived up to that contract.
The city attorney has been contacted and will send a letter to the company reminding them of their obligations. Marsh said he would pass along various updates when he got them and will give the council a full update next month.
The council also approved city employees and elected officials access to public funds accounts for Federation Bank and Hills Bank and set a public hearing date on Feb. 6 to discuss changes in Chapter 170 Zoning Regulation Changes.