Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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DNR: Well No. 6 needs to operate

by Rob Ireland

October 20, 2011

Rasmussen
WALWORTH — The Department of Natural Resources wants the village to either begin running Well No. 6 or abandon it.

The well, which is about 180 feet deep, hasn't been in operation since February 2010 because when it runs, sediment blocks the pump.

Because of public health concerns, state law and EPA regulations require non-producing wells to either be rehabilitated or shut down.

Village officials believe they have up to five years to fix the well before it must be abandoned.

With this time frame, Village President David Rasmussen said the village wants to take its time to make sure the well is fixed properly and avoid a quick fix.

"When there's a hurry to build something, in any government entity, its doesn't seem to get built as well," Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen said the village wouldn't want to abandon the well because it spent money on it, and the well is valuable to have as a backup.

"The idea of abandoning it is kind of silly," he said. "Even if we only get 50 gallons a minute it still has a function."

According to meeting minutes provided by the DNR, the DNR doesn't have a minimum production requirement for a well.

On Aug. 17, the DNR sent a violation notice to the village regarding the well. On Sept. 28, village officials — Rasmussen, Trustee Todd Watters, Public Works Director Tim Boss and engineers Jerry Groth and Mark Kolezaski — met with DNR officials to discuss the well.

Rasmussen said the village didn't budget "mountains of money" to repair Well 6, but plan to work on it in the spring.

Lane Northwest has submitted a proposal to rehabilitate the well, but the village hasn't yet entered into the contract.

On Oct. 16, Rasmussen said this spring Lane Northwest would pump chemicals into the well to loosen up sediment to help unclog the well.

After pumping in chemicals, the company would test the well to see if that improves the water flow. The well also needs to be treated for high levels of iron.

Not the first well problem

Disagreements regarding the wells between the village and DNR isn't a new theme at the Walworth's Village Hall.

In October 2010, the DNR told the village it had to blend the water between Well 5 and 6 to lower the nitrate levels.

However, at that time, the village believed the nitrate levels were safe and met the standards of the DNR.

The DNR eventually backed off the requirement that the two wells be mixed, but that wasn't until after the village submitted months worth of data reporting the nitrate levels were safe.

Village Wells 1 and 2 have been abandoned, and the village uses Wells 3 and 4 to pump out water. Wells 5 and 6 each increase the capacity for the village. In an emergency situation, the village can share its capacity with the village of Fontana.

Could be worse

Rasmussen said when the village originally spoke to engineers about building Wells 5 and 6, the village was advised only to build one deep well.

However, Rasmussen said he pushed to build to wells in case there was a problem with one of the wells.

"We were really lucky we didn't listen to the engineers," he said.

Well 5, which is about 90 feet deep, is pumping about 350 gallons of water a minute.