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Sat, Sept. 21

Chino Valley declares water emergency

After declaring Chino Valley has a water emergency, the council Thursday ratified awarding a contract to Drill Tech of Chino Valley for an amount not to exceed $200,000 to drill a well at the Bright Star 1-million-gallon water tank site.

Ron Grittman, engineer and Public Works director, reminded the council that utility workers in November initially discovered the town's sole water source - the Country West Well - was producing sand. The well is on the east side of Highway 89 and south of Road 2 North.

He said the well had been pumping 650 gallons per minute since 2005. In December 2009, he said, it dropped to 500 gpm. Two weeks ago it fell to 430 gpm. Now, the well is pumping 300 gpm-350 gpm. The pump's consumption of electricity continues to rise, he said.

Grittman had hoped Drill Tech could start drilling the well last week. However, because of state requirements and problems on Drill Tech's end, it still hasn't started.

Because of the emergency, he said, the Arizona Department of Water Resources' staff prepared the hydrology impact report required before it could issue a drilling permit. The report, he said, showed the well will only impact other wells within 20 feet of it.

Town Attorney Tom Kack said he and Drill Tech's attorney are close to finalizing out the contract to drill the well.

Grittman is hopeful Drill Tech can start drilling the well next week. The driller will use a flooded reverse drilling technique. This way crews can equip the well quickly because they don't have to pull the usual debris out first, he said.

He said it will take two to three weeks to get it drilled and discover if there is arsenic in the water and what capacity they can get so the town knows how big a pump it needs.

"If the well is not online by mid-May, we will have to instill conservation measures and prohibit outside watering and the use of water to prepare the parks' fields for Little League," he said.

Grittman said June and July are the town's two heaviest water demand months. The demand is between 700 gpm and 750 gpm, he said, so, it is imperative the town has the well online before June.

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