Rebuilt well restores water service to all Carterville residents
The water started to come back on in Carterville around noon Tuesday as the city’s only well was rebuilt.
But smaller problems with the systems in Carterville and Webb City are expected to show up. Webb City City Administrator Carl Francis on Monday asked council members and residents to report any suspected water leaks.
The problems, of course, are the result of an unusually long period of sub-zero temperatures.
Carterville will be under a boil order until a test confirms the water is safe. In the meantime, Carterville City Administrator Will Cline urges residents to continue picking up free water at the fire station. He estimated there were enough palets of fresh water to last at least four days. Walmart had delivered two truckloads of water for free.
Webb City’s connection to the Carterville system was opened, with some difficulty, initially requiring a Webb City fire engine to pump water through the line. “We’re doing everything we can to help Carterville,” Francis said.
Still, Cline estimates only 25 percent of Carterville residents, those in proximity to the main line going down Main Street, have had more than a trickle throughout the episode. Neighborhoods to the south and north had no water.
The Heritage Acres rural subdivision was also with low pressure because its primary source of water has been from Carterville. By June, Cline Public Water Supply District 3 will be Heritage Acres’ sole water source.
Since this emergency began, Cline says he has asked the city’s engineer to speed up plans to drill a second well. He says a site has been located in Johnstown.
The last section of pipe to bring water to the surface is lowered into Carterville’s well house.
Rather than seek a USDA grant to install a second water tower as well as a new well, Cline says the City Council will now use remaining funds from a $1,565,000 bond issue approved in 2009 for water and sewer improvements. A new sewer lift station was the main purpose of the bond issue.
During the emergency, the council voted to take out a $107,000 three-month gap loan from Southwest Missouri Bank to pay for the well replacement. Cline says that will be paid off with the $750,000 in bonding authority the city still has from 2009. He emphasizes that fixing the existing well and drilling a new one will not require an increase in customers’ water rates.
Cline says the council was aware the existing well needed work but had hoped to have the new well drilled first.
Carterville will also need money to pay for the water it has purchased from Webb City. Likewise, Webb City will need be paying extra to Missouri American because of the extra water needed replace water going to Carterville and lost through leaks.
Dennis Clifford, with Webb City’s water system, checked on his phone while at the Carterville well Tuesday morning to see that Webb City’s water pressure was at 51. That’s compared to normal pressure of about 65.
Rick Roth, director of street and water, says the new well Webb City drilled last fall in the northwest section of town is ready to contribute as soon as it is equipped with a well house and electricity.