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5/27/2014 1:04:00 PM
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

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter

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.

Related Stories:
• Dogtown 1 well still limping along
• City of Williams to develop new well site on Airport Road next to substation
• Still no water at Dogtown I Well

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014
Article comment by: Train Water

With a water crisis in full swing, here goes the supposedly "environmentally friendly" Grand Canyon Railway getting ready to run steam trains. We all live here, we know the enormous amount of water a steam train uses.

Sure, they can blow this off by saying they are using water that was caught from storm run off (what storms?) but the fact remains, even if it's non-potable water, it could have been put to better use. Rather than run a steam train, Xanterra should use the water for something more important than a hokey 30-minute train ride. Like watering the grass/trees at city parks.

Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014
Article comment by: Bobby Patricca

Ron Pauly, how much sales tax revenue will the Love's bring in for us to fund repairing our infrastructure and establishing new water sources? Those big rigs fueling up would certainly bring a decent amount in considering there is currently no facility in Williams for them to stop.

Posted: Thursday, June 12, 2014
Article comment by: cactus jack is way off base

Are you for real??? The well is 14 to 15 years old. It was not maintained, then run into the ground by the city manager.

The decision on whether or not to case the bottom of the well is easy for a guy to criticize who is wanting the city's business. Not all wells are cased at the bottom, especially when you are trying to get as much water as possible from a small exploratory hole. Casing at the bottom with a small pipe with tiny holes for the water to seep into isn't going to produce many gallons per minute is it? Open bore holes are very common. How much experience does this guy have with wells that are 2000 feet deep?

Posted: Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Article comment by: Ron Pauly

I wonder how much water that Loves will use?

Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Article comment by: Cactus Jack

Who built and assembled, this well? Maybe they should be responsible for it's failure. Maybe the City of Williams, should sue, or call them out on this, and make them fix the problem with no charge. Why should the taxpayers be responsible for this cost.

Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014
Article comment by: water tech II

Water Tech has hit it right and lessons should be learned by this. Drilling another well is not the only answer.There are alternative solutions for this problem they should look at. I have seen wells stuck before and been successfully unstuck. One company (Layne Christianson) uses 20 ton jacks to successfully remove stuck wells then the collapsed material can be air lifted and new casing installed at a cost less than a new well.

Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Article comment by: Wayne in Williams

What a surprise. Under this Town Council the whole is falling apart, while taxes increase. Williams is certainly not a hallmark of efficient and competent town management. What will be next?

Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Article comment by: water tech

Dogtown 1, a exploratory well, collapsed because of how it was maintained, not because of how it was built. Running a well at max output for months will cause multiple problems. No maintenance for the last 14 years is another subject. Up next, no water when they burn up the pump on Dogtown 3.

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