Kenai pushes to complete well

Following an emergency declaration from Kenai City Manager Rick Koch, the Kenai City Council approved a purchase order of $39,000 with M-W Drilling Inc. on a no-bid project to complete another water well in time to meet rising water demands.

 

The declaration was a late addition to the Kenai city council agenda at the council meeting Wednesday night. Under Kenai Municipal Code 7.15.050, the city may award a contract without competition, “if the city manager determines an emergency threatening the public health, safety or welfare requires the contract be awarded without delay.”

The City of Kenai has a contract with the Anchorage based M-W Drilling, which developed a second well, 2B, at the Beaver Loop Aquifer last fall. Well 2B is approximately 400 feet from the city’s only currently active well. Koch said a second well is needed to provide adequate water supply to the city and eliminate water use restrictions as the spring season nears.

He said he called for an emergency declaration because there is no time to go through a competitive bid process and M-W Drilling has already been involved with the well development process.

“We need it online and ready by May for those sunny weekends when water use increases to a rate of 1.4 million gallons a day,” he said.

After several inspections of well 2B, small amounts of larger particles of sand entered the well despite the well screens that were installed, according to Koch’s memo to city council.

The well should remove small sand particles with a well screen, which were installed to industry standards by M-W, but tests have produced fine sand, which cannot be allowed into the filtration system or it would clog and fail, he said.

City administration met with M-W to determine a solution to complete the well so it would produce water in the volumes required without unacceptable amounts of fine sand. Koch said the installation of an artificial pack in the space between the outer well screen and inner well screen will enhance the performance of the well.

The city and M-W negotiated sharing the cost for the installation of the new screen. M-W has agreed to pay for one-half of the cost for a new screen $30,000 out of $60,000. Kenai will pay the other half, $30,000 and the cost for the artificial pack $9,000.

“Time is of the essence in completing this work so that adequate volumes of water are available to the municipal water utility during periods of peak demand beginning in April/May this year,” he said. “If Well 2B is not on-line and in production there will be a shortage of water for domestic, business and emergency services, thereby I determined that the situation presents an emergency threat to the city’s water supply.”

Due to changes in Environmental Protection Agency regulations the past two years, the DEC has requested the City of Kenai keep wells 1 and 3 offline, leaving the city with one main production well. Koch said the city is looking into drilling a third well in the Beaver Loop Aquifer.

With a new water treatment facility, a sand clog up could disrupt the water flow in a short amount of time, he said.

With G & S Construction, the subcontractor along with M-W is slated to move ahead with the final steps on Monday, March 10. Testing to bring the well online is expected to take up to six weeks and by late April, well 2B should be up and running, Koch said.

 

Reach Dan Balmer at daniel.balmer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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