Who can’t relate to fixing a problem around the house only to discover a bigger problem that can lead to more repairs?
Algonquin is facing that situation with one of its wells that will cost the village thousands of dollars.
Public Works staff noticed a 55 percent drop in capacity and a drop in output in October. The well, which feeds into Well No. 3, was taken out of service to figure out the problem.
What a contractor discovered is 95 percent of a well screen was blocked with mineral and biological buildup, which caused the drop in gravity. A bigger problem was discovered: the pipes and valve were extremely soft due to a process called graphitization, according to village documents.
Graphitization occurs when groundwater pulls the iron out of the cast iron and weakens the metal, leaving behind graphite, public works officials explained.
While Algonquin residents have not had to deal with an interruption of water services, the loss of Well No. 15 is a “borderline emergency” since the village is now counting so heavily on Well No. 3. That well is operating efficiently, but the groundwater source has been reduced by 50 percent. Repairs cannot wait until the next budget year.
It is going to cost the village $61,176 to make the repairs. The cost is in addition to about $7,800 already spent.
Monday, the village board authorized public works to fix the problem. Algonquin budgeted $40,000 for well rehabilitation in the 2013 budget year that will now be used to fix Well No. 15 but will need to make up the shortfall by transferring monies from other village funds.
Water Well Solutions is doing the repairs, which will be started as soon as possible, Public Works Director Robert Mitchard said.
Algonquin residents won’t notice the repairs being made, Mitchard said. Public works will have to take some preventive steps to stop the graphitization from happening again, he said.