Rodeo Well 'looking really promising'

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - After pumping the Rodeo Well for a few weeks, the prospect of being able to use the water is "looking really promising," according to Public Works Director Kyle Christiansen.

City staff briefed the city council members about water issues at their June 12 meeting.

The city has been pumping the Rodeo Well since Memorial Day weekend at a rate of 120 gallons per minute. The main concern with the water from the Rodeo Well was the arsenic levels. Christiansen said the last arsenic test came back at 10.2 parts per billion, and the arsenic level must be at 10.0 parts per billion before the city is able to send it to the distribution center.

Pat Carpenter with A Quality Water Co. is doing water consulting for the city. He said even with the current arsenic levels, the water would be usable.

"Once it gets to the water treatment plant and it's blended with the water coming from Dogtown Lake and Dogtown Well, then you would take a sample at your point of entry where it enters the distribution system and check it for arsenic there," he said. "By then it would probably be a non-detect or pretty low at that point."

Councilman Bernie Hiemenz asked if the Rodeo Well would be able to produce more than 120 gallons per minute. Christiansen said that depended on the location of the pump.

"Part of why we think we have such a low arsenic level is the placement of the pump," he said. "Right now the placement of the pump kind of determines our capacity that we're drawing. We could put the pump lower and draw a little bit more capacity, but it could also raise the arsenic level, because as the pump gets lower and further down in the hole that's where more of the arsenic accumulates."

Carpenter added the pump intake is already 15 feet deeper than what the manufacturer recommends, so he wouldn't want to drop it down too much further.

"Right now it's stable and my recommendation is to run it like that and see if we have any issues with the equipment and the well," he said.

City Manager Brandon Buchanan told the council that given the current water crisis, he was not comfortable with trying for increased production at the Rodeo Well.

"If we had both Dogtown wells still going, we'd probably be a little more comfortable taking a little more chance and trying a little bit deeper on this," he said. "With one down and only one well, we really don't have that luxury. We've got 120 (gallons per minute) now, we can try a little bit more, and if it fails for whatever reason, then we're without the 120."

Councilman Lee Payne agreed.

"I think the risk/reward at this point in my mind is let it sit, go to the next step, and maybe later try it," he said.

As of the June 12 meeting, Carpenter said the Rodeo Well had pumped 2.3 million gallons. Once the water samples start showing consistent levels of arsenic, carbon dioxide and dissolved oxygen, the city will order a custom pump that can withstand the elements in the water.

Dogtown well and financing

The city is also looking into a new location for the Dogtown I Well after it stopped producing water last month. The reason for the well's failure still remains in question. Garth Owens of Drill Tech had said at the May 22 council meeting that the well failed because it was not cased all the way down and the open hole collapsed around the pump. However Carpenter said at last week's meeting that the well was in fact cased all the way to the bottom.

"So what happened in that hole is anybody's guess," he said. "We could have had a formation shift or something."

City officials are planning to dig a new hole for the Dogtown I Well about 100 feet northwest from the existing hole. Once the location is finalized, the city will submit the GPS coordinates to about five agencies for their approval, which will take about a month. From there, the city will notify the driller, and it will take the company about a month to get to town. The actual drilling of the well is also expected to take a month.

"The only silver lining with Dogtown I going down is before we realized we weren't going to be able to retrieve it, we ordered parts from all over the country," Buchanan said. "So we have a whole new setup. We've got everything we need for a new well other than a hole and some column pipe already sitting here in town."

Christiansen added that the company that recently completed the well feasibility survey of the Garland Prairie area, HydroSystems, Inc., had done a survey in the Dogtown area in 2006 and could reexamine the data to help choose the new well location.

Carpenter said as of May 26, Dogtown Lake had about 145 million gallons of water, 80 percent of which was usable. He added that since the Dogtown I Well went down, the city had used 9 million gallons of water from Dogtown Lake and about a million gallons of water was lost to evaporation and seepage.

In other water related news, Finance Director Keith Buonocore told the council that three representatives from the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority were in town the previous day. Together they completed about 90 percent of the loan application. City officials also took the representatives on a tour of the facilities and infrastructure.

"I think they got a better feel for needs," Buonocore said. "The response was that they didn't know we were in that such dire straits with the water system, so I think they got a real good feel for that yesterday."

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