City well testing creates problems for homeowmers

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 3/21/01.

Three private wells were damaged in February when the city tested its new well south of Highway 55 the Paynesville City Council learned at its meeting on March 14.

City engineer Pete Carlson informed the council that the city's tests damaged motors in three private residences..

In mid-February, water was pumped for 72 hours straight to test the new city well. The well tested fine, pumping anywhere from 400 to 1,200 gallons per minute. But this extended pumping depleted the water in the aquifer below the depth of the private wells. With no water, the motors burned up while running dry.

Claims have been submitted to the city's insurance company to cover the expense of buying new motors for these homeowners.

The city did a second test pumping 10 days later, at which time Thein Well monitored the city well and city employees monitored the private wells. During the second test water was pumped only 24 hours at 650 gallons per minute.

Carlson said the wells would only be used four to five hours per day, pumping 600 gallons per minute, which should not affect the private wells.

Public Works Director Ron Mergen said the new well would be put into use this spring.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency helped finance the two new wells after benzene contamination was found in two of the city's wells. Water from the well behind city hall has been pumped into the river for two years. The benzene levels in this well are starting to drop, according to Mergen.

A second contaminated well located near Cenex on Railroad Street, has such mild levels of benzene that the city continues to use the water. The city is pumping 200 gallons a minute from this well to the treatment plant.

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