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Fri, April 10

Dogtown I Well fails
Well caves in leaving city of Williams with one working well, officials say Williams now has 19 months of water available

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - The city of Williams' already dire water situation just got worse. Last week, one of the city's two wells collapsed and is now unusable.

The Williams City Council discussed the problem at its May 22 meeting. On May 19, city staff discovered that Dogtown 1 well had stopped producing water. The well was previously producing about 250 gallons per minute, which came out to about 11 million gallons per month.

Well experts decided to pull the pump, motor and cable to diagnose the problem. Drill Tech Owner Garth Owens said workers tried unsuccessfully to pull the system several times using cranes, but the system is stuck.

"It won't come up, it won't go down, it won't move," he said. "So my honest opinion is I wouldn't go back and try to fish that pump out. It's not money wise to try to do it."

Owens believes the problem stemmed from the bottom of the hole lacking a casing, which caused the open bore hole to collapse around the pump. Furthermore, Owens believes the collapse caused the pump motor to overheat and burn out.

"We wouldn't be having this problem if it was cased all the way to the bottom," Owens said.

The now disabled well was one of two wells that Williams had up and running. With water from the other well, Dogtown 3, mixed with the remaining surface water in City Dam, Dogtown Lake and Cataract Lake, staff estimates the city will have enough water for about 19 months.

However, if anything were to happen to the Dogtown 3 well, staff estimates the city would only have enough surface water for about six months, although the water quality would be poor.

"So right now we're one burned motor away from six months of water," said City Manager Brandon Buchanan.

The city is now considering drilling a replacement hole next to the existing Dogtown 1 well, since officials know there is water there. Owens said drilling a new hole would take about a month to complete and that the new hole would be cased all the way down.

Vice Mayor Don Dent recommended having Drill Tech workers look at a study that was completed when the Dogtown wells were originally drilled.

"We need to take time to look at that," he said. "We don't need to get in so big of a hurry that we drill another dry hole or one that produces 50 gallons a day."

The council expects to discuss the city's options for dealing with the collapsed well at this week's meeting.

The city is still pursuing several other options to increase its water supply. Staff expected to receive the results from geophysical studies regarding other possible well sites on Garland Prairie and South Road today.

Also, Drill Tech hopes to have the equipment installed in the Rodeo Well and be able to start pumping by Friday. After the city pumps that well for a couple of weeks, water experts can determine how to treat the arsenic.

"If we can get the water out of the ground, we can fix the water," Owens said. "The trick is getting it out."

The city is still looking into financing options to deal with the water crisis, including applying for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to enhance the water supply and complete the water meter replacement project.

In other water related news, the council approved an agreement with EUSI, LLC to contract operations of a portion of the water and wastewater utility.

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