The North Bend Eagle

 

City looking for new well sites

by Nathan Arneal
Published 7/27/16

The North Bend City Council is looking for a new drilling site to replace its aging water wells.

Dane Simonsen of JEO Engineering presented the pros and cons of a couple of possible sites to at the July 19 council meeting.

One site, the “north site,” is about a half mile north of the high school on County Road 7. The other site looked at is the empty lot north of the water tower.
Simonsen said benefits to the north site include the city having a purchase agreement for the land in hand and it meets all the setback guidelines with no other wells within 1,000 feet.

Having some distance between the new well site and the current wells by the water tower would also make it less likely that all the wells become contaminated at the same time.

The north site also has several high producing irrigation wells in the vicinity, which probably indicates that this site would produce as well.

“However, we don’t really know until we poke a hole in the ground,” Simonsen said. “There is a little bit of speculation involved.”

A drawback to the north site would be the cost of the piping that would be required to get the water into town.

The town site, just north of the water tower, would be cheaper since the city already owns the land and it would require much less piping. However, Simonsen said, there are at least two known wells within 1,000 feet of the site, not including the current city wells.

Council members told him there are many more wells within that radius that weren’t shown on his map. Simonsen said if that is the case, it all but eliminates the town site from consideration since the Department of Health and Human Services would not likely approve the site since it does not meet its setback guidelines.

Councilman Tom Mullally, a plumber by trade, said he was concerned about the water quality at the north site. He said nearby houses have poor quality water.

“I think there’s going to be water there, but the quality is no better than what we have now,” Mullally said. “I don’t know why we’d drill a well that’s going to be the same crap we’ve been treating for 100 years. If we go another mile north of town, by von Rein’s, that’s really good water.”

He suggested a site between von Rein’s house and the power substation a little more than a mile north of town on Highway 79. Mullally said he thought the cost of the additional piping would be offset in the long run with water that doesn’t require as much filtering.

Simonsen said drilling a test well and all the required tests that go with it cost between $30,000 and $40,000.

Council president Kevin Ferguson said he didn’t want to take the chance of spending that kind of money if the water wasn’t going to be there or of high quality.

Simonson suggested testing the water quality of nearby irrigation wells to get a sense of the water quality.

The council decided to follow that advice before it proceeds with picking a site and drilling a test well.

In other council business:

• Ordinances 546 and 547, which would have changed the land use map and zoning on a handful of lots on 14th street from residential to commercial use, was scheduled to receive its third and final reading.
However, that did not happen as the council decided to no longer pursue the rezoning. Land owner Kent Fredrickson, who sought the rezoning for business purposes, is in talks with a group that would buy the land without requiring a zoning change.

• Jason Getzchman of Omni Tech explained his company’s desire to offer high speed internet in North Bend and possible rent space on the water tower for an antenna. He will first have to see if the North Bend Water tower meets the requirements the equipment needs.

 

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