Webb City’s new well and well house are different in a couple of ways. One is that the well head is not inside the well house.
Instead, a pipe diverts the water into the building through the floor. In the middle, there’s a flow meter, and liquid chlorine is added to the water before it flows into the system through the pipe at the far end going into the floor. Water not suited for the system, such as when the pump starts up, is diverted and discharged out the side of the building.
New well allows city to meet demand for water on its own
With five others, the well’s goal is to limit daily purchase of water from Missouri American
As of Tuesday noon, Webb City’s water system had enough pressure on its own – without relying on purchased water from its connection with Missouri American.
Reaching that goal was made possible by a new well that was dug in January 2020 and started pumping into the system during the past week.
Water operator Dennis Clifford could tell from a flow meter inside the new well house that the well was producing 355 gallons per minute.
The flow meter at Tuesday noon was indicating the new well was producing 352.8 gallons of water per minute.
All six of the city’s wells are pumping roughly 1.5 million gallons during an 18-hour period each day, according to Clifford.
That’s equal to the amount that has been pumped by the five other wells and purchased from Missouri American.
City Administrator Carl Francis said last week that the city’s monthly invoice from Missouri American typically ranges between $20,000 to $50,000.
Clifford monitors the system, the water tower and each of the wells with the city’s SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition), either from his desktop computer at the Public Works office or on his cell phone.
The new well, located on Homestead Drive west of Webb City Health and Rehabilitation, is 1,600 feet deep. The pump, set at 945 feet deep, could be lowered in the future if necessary. That’s different from the other five wells, which have had their pumps lowered as far as possible.
The new well is the city’s first to have its well head located outside the well house. This is possible because the pump motor is submerged in the water.
The other well houses provide shelter for the exposed motors, which are on top of the wells. Their roofs have a section that can be removed to allow the motor and shaft to be lifted for maintenance.
Clifford notes that the new well house will stay a lot cleaner because it doesn’t have an exposed motor inside it. Rather, water from the wellhead is piped up through the floor of the well house. After liquid chlorine is added, the water flows back through the floor into the system.
During testing, or after maintenance, the water is discharged through a pipe outside instead of into the system.
Another technological difference is that there’s not a traditional antenna outside the new well house. Instead of radio signals, water well pumps are now controlled by cell phones.
Clifford said he is proud that except for laying the concrete blocks, the well house, including electrical, was built in-house by public works staff.