City of Williams to develop new well site on Airport Road next to substation

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - With Dogtown I Well still down in the midst of the city's water crisis, the city of Williams is now moving forward on a new well site.

Williams City Council members approved the new site at their Dec. 11 meeting. The well will be located on a 16-acre piece of city-owned property north of Interstate 40 on Airport Road. It will be situated on the same parcel of land where the city's new electric substation is being built.

Developing the new well is expected to cost about $845,000, including drilling, engineering, utilities to the new well site and a new water line. The city already has the column pipe and pump for the well, which cost about $485,000.

The engineering work for the site is expected to take about a month to complete. Then the city will likely start requesting bids for the project within about a six-week timeframe. The Arizona Department of Water Resources will also have to approve the site.

The city has previously considered well sites on Garland Prairie Road and near the Young Life camp. However, HydroSystems, Inc. recommended the new location based on a geophysical survey of the area.

Mayor John Moore said it was time to move forward with a new well site, but added that there were no promises with the chosen location.

"When we do choose a site for a well we're choosing what we think is the best site based on the studies we've had done and what the experts tell us, but it still don't mean we're going to have water," he said.

Vice Mayor Don Dent agreed, saying the studies have been misleading in the past.

"Dogtown 2 had one of the best results we ever looked at and that was the dry hole, so there's no guarantee. We've learned that," he said. "We think because of the two drainages that come in there and we were successful with the Rodeo Well, we think that's a good area and this gives us a good reading."

In a staff report to the mayor and council, Public Works Director Kyle Christiansen said the new site was an ideal location for other reasons as well.

"This location is close to a known water source and offers close proximity to town, reducing transport issues," he said. "The proximity to existing distribution and electrical utilities was considered as part of this recommendation."

Christiansen explained in his staff report that if the water was clean it would be tied right into the distribution system. However, if the water contains arsenic like the water from the Rodeo Well does, it would be tied into the Rodeo line for treatment before entering the distribution system. Another option would be routing the water into the Dogtown line and then treating it at the water treatment plant.

Dogtown well field

Williams City Council members had previously approved a new well location known as Dogtown 4 well at their June 26 meeting. Dogtown 4 would be located 200 feet southwest from Dogtown 2 and 100 feet east from the Dogtown 3 waterline. The location is far enough from the collapsed Dogtown 1 well while remaining close enough to the existing water and electrical lines.

The Dogtown 4 well would cost in the $730,000 range, including drilling, engineering, utilities to the new well site and a new water line.

However, Dogtown 4 is now on the back burner while the city instead pursues the new site on Airport Road, which is closer to town. Christiansen said if workers are able to revive Dogtown I, the city might not need Dogtown 4 right away.

As for Dogtown I, workers put more charges down into the well this past weekend in order to loosen some concrete and other material from the perforations in 100 feet of the casing.

"The charges actually show that they have enough force to go back two feet under certain conditions," Christiansen said. "So we anticipate that it went through the concrete and into the formation a little bit to open all that up."

Although the well technicians used an instrument to show there is water flowing in the well, they can't tell how much until they put the pump back in the well. They plan to put the pump back in the well in early January.

Before Dogtown I failed on May 19, it was producing about 250 gallons per minute. After several attempts to revive the well, it was yielding about 40 gallons per minute before workers sent the latest round of charges down.

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