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Council OKs $46,110 to treat city water wells

By JoEllen Black/Richmond News

After an hour-long discussion at its Jan. 14 council meeting on problems with three city wells, Richmond City Council approved a treatment plan for iron and bacteria for a total cost of $46,110.

What concerned many council members was well No. 3’s much lower specific capacity, which showed a 71-percent loss compared to testing in 2011. Specific capacity determines how much a well pumps during a period of time. The well was treated twice in 2011, according to City Administrator Ron Brohammer.

At the council’s work session prior to the meeting, Councilman Jim Dunwoodie asked how a well could falter so quickly.

“The problem is they (the wells) continued to worsen. They should have been treated in 2008 or ‘09. In 2011, they were in pretty bad shape. And they (the city) knew that. They had them tested and deferred treatment. Then came the serious problem with well No. 3,” Brohammer said, adding that prior to 2011, they wells were treated in 2006 or 2007.

Todd Thomas, vice president of Fenton-based Brotcke Well and Pump, blamed cycles of droughts and floods in the well fields over the past few years that introduced “some previously unseen bacterial dynamics” in the wells. He wrote his evaluation and solution for the wells in a Dec. 20, 2013 letter to Brohammer. Most evident in well 3 were high bacteria and iron levels from a 2012 test. The city has been treating it with high levels of chlorine.

Thomas, along with Jake Freeman, a Brotcke engineer, recommended immediate treatment of well No. 3.

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