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TELL CITY — Two of Tell City's water wells are pumping at their highest capacities in years after the city invested more than $50,000 to remove built-up scaling and rehabilitate the large pumps that deliver hundreds of thousands of gallons of water every day.
Tell City's water comes from deep wells that tap into underground aquifiers. Wells are located in two fields near the city treatment plant and closer to the Ohio River.
National Water Service was contracted last year to clean Well 3A near the plant and Well 13 nearer the river. Output from both wells had declined in recent years, something expected due to the buildup of mineral accumulations and wear to pumps.
At Well 13, which provides untreated process water to ThyssenKrupp Waupaca's foundry, the pump was cleaned and repairs made to the pump's shaft and housing. A new check valve was also installed, Tell City Water Department Superintendent Dale Poole said. After the work, which cost $37,785, the well was pumping more than twice the water it had before, and almost as much as when it was first drilled in the late 1990s.
"It's still a very good well for us and should be for several years to come," Poole said.
Well 3A, which provides drinking water to the city was also cleaned and required only minor work to its pump. Total cost of its repairs was $23,090. It, too, is pumping at a much higher capacity than before.
Tell City Water Board members watched a before- and-after video of one of the wells, showing how much of the built-up debris had been removed. An underwater camera dropped from the top of the well more than 100 feet.
Regular testing of the city's water wells could help the city identify which units would benefit from cleaning. Tell City's wells don't run continuously but respond to increased demand for water, which fluctuates during the year.
Year in Review
Poole offered a look back at the utility's progress over 2008, including valve replacements at the plant, work which will enable plant personnel to operate the plant during power outages.
H & H Electric of Tell City installed shielding on four antennas that relay information to and from water tanks and wells in hopes of preventing damage from future lightning strikes. "We're trying to keep circuit boards from being destroyed and thus far, it's worked," he said.
The utility took possession of a new 2007 Chevrolet truck to replace a 1987 dump truck that had required frequent and expensive repairs.
Other major projects included replacement of a valve on a water line serving Waupaca Foundry, a feat noteworthy because it had to be done without interrupting the flow of water to the foundry. The company uses approximately 1 million gallons of water a day and would have been shut down had water been unavailable.
An interruption in water service was unavoidable during the hours-long replacement last fall of a fire hydrant at Main and Seventh streets.