FOUNTAIN VALLEY The headache that has emerged from the failure of four of the city’s six wells has turned out to be costly.
Since the need for emergency repairs to two wells was reported in July, in addition to two wells already slated for repair, the projected overall bill has swelled to more than $650,000. And could go higher, officials said.
Despite the failures of two-thirds of the city’s wells, one of which has since been repaired, service to customers was not affected, according to city officials.
Public Works officials asked the City Council Sept 19 for approval to amend the city’s water fund by $200,000 to cover repairs to two of the wells. The city unanimously approved the request as part of the consent calendar and did not discuss the item.
Although one of the failed wells has been repaired, three still remain inoperable and repairs aren’t expected to be completed until spring 2018.
Fixing the two most recently failed wells, initially estimated to cost “tens of thousands” of dollars, is now estimated at $191,000.
“I wasn’t necessarily surprised,” Mark Lewis, director of Public Works said of the emergency repair costs. He added that initial repair estimates are tricky at best.
“These are holes in the ground and you don’t know what’s going on until you get in and take a look,” he said.
When the last two wells went down, one in January and again in June, the second in July, John Sibley, then-interim city manager declared an emergency to allow city staff to pay for the repairs without City Council authorization.
Two wells were already in the 2016-17 budget as capital improvements. The initial bid for those repairs is $464,078. However, that does not include funding for the repairs that doesn’t come from the general fund or the increased sales tax income, but the water enterprise fund, which is paid into by rate payers.
Lewis said the costs shouldn’t affect customers, as capital projects and unexpected failures are factored into pricing.
The simpler of the repairs to the well at Newhope Street and Warner Avenue cost $15,249 and was completed on July 25. However, the second well in Mile Square Park required replacement of the pump and bowls, motor reconditioning and well casing rehabilitation, according to a city report. That will keep the pump out of action until November and cost about $176,000 to repair.
Although the city has the ability to import water from the Metropolitan Water District, pumping from the…