Not a exactly a dry hole, but close

Drilling for oil, or even water, is almost always a gamble, and the Cairo City Council took that gamble and lost on a test well for a new source of drinking water.
Consulting engineer Stacy Watkins of the engineering firm Watkins and Associates met with the council Monday night to brief the council on the results of the test well drilled recently on the city’s west side.
“We got no where near the flow we need,” Watkins said of the test well drilled near the intersection of Wight Road and Perry Road.
According to the city’s consulting engineer, the test well only produced about 250 gallons per minute of water. A minimum of 750 gallons is required for a two-million gallon plant, Watkins says, and the engineer would prefer 1,000 gallons per minute.
The cost of drilling the test well was approximately $50,000, and the city is now facing the need to drill another.
“We are buying insurance by drilling test wells. If we had gone out there and put in a well and spent a lot of money and it came up dry, that would have been a catastrophe. This is just a setback,” City Manager Chris Addleton said.
City officials were optimistic the test well would produce results similar to those found at Monrovia Growers, which is located close by.
Mayor Richard VanLandingham, who is the former head of the nursery, said the nursery has several wells on the its property producing 1,000 gallons per minute. The mayor said the nursery has also dug wells that produced insufficient water volume.
Based on the history of wells in the area, city officials remain confident water will be found, but they want to stay on property which is already city owned.
The proximity of city water to the site of the test well drilled off Wight Road is a factor in the costs relating to the drilling of a producing well, the proposed treatment plant and a ground storage tank.
By moving a couple of thousand feet south of the first test well site will require trucking water to the drill site or running a lengthy hose from a city water main located near the first well site to provide water for drilling the second well.
Addleton is hopeful Greene’s Water Wells of Gray, Ga., will be able to drill a second test well for the same approximate cost as the first well.
The city manager said he was obviously disappointed  when he first learned the news last week, but he noted, “a similar problem occurred in Valdosta, and they moved a couple of hundred feet and hit water.”
Watkins told councilmen this week Greene’s drilled down 600 feet, which is about 50 feet deeper than wells at Monrovia.
The engineer does not recommend going any deeper because the quality of the water suffers the deeper you drill.
Watkins did not have a report on the quality of the water the first test well produced, but he noted the water was high in hydrogen sulfide, which is not uncommon and is manageable.
The second test well will be dug on city property south of the first test well, closer to Monrovia Grower’s high performance wells.
Addleton is hopeful work will begin on the second well within two to three weeks.
The city’s plan is to construct a ground-level storage tank and treatment plant on a portion of the city’s land application sewer treatment plant property.
Combined with an elevated tank to be constructed near Washington Middle School, the city’s water pressure on the west side of the city should improve.
The new well will give the city a new source of water in addition to the three wells located at the northeast water plant.
The city is applying for a Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority loan of up to $1 million to finance the well, ground-level storage tank and treatment plant.
Federal stimulus funds are being made available to Georgia communities through GEFA and, according to Watkins, the stimulus funds will be used to subsidize the loan up to 70 percent, reducing the city’s indebtedness to $300,000 at a low rate of interest.
The city’s application is currently being processed and has yet to be approved.

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