Faith to drill replacement for damaged water well

Published 12:08 am Thursday, July 21, 2022

FAITH — Last week, the town of Faith notified the community it was instituting a voluntary water reduction request as one of the existing wells that supplies the city’s water is out of commission.

The problem fortunately is already being addressed as Municipal Engineering Services is working with the town to re-drill a replacement for the well.

Faith runs its own water system, installed in 1968. Because it is a self-serving municipality, three wells were initially installed to serve homes and businesses in the area. As population and water demand grew, so did the integrated, gridded pipeline system that pumps fresh well water for the community. As of 2022, there are five wells supplying the city, but after utility workers discovered the well near the Jaycee Street area dried up, the town has been running on four wells so far this summer.

“It’s not abnormal for the state to send out a notice to towns to reserve water in the summer,” said Faith Utilities’ spokesman Scott Gardner. “We haven’t had a report of the drought affecting water as much this year, but we’re down a well.”

This year, there were reports of a reduction in water from the damaged well. Thinking it was the water pump, utility workers went under the pump house of the reservoir to find the whole well had dried up. It is normal for water pumps to be replaced, but wells are a different undertaking.

According to Gardner, an explanation of why the well dried up is a guess, at best. His suspicion is the fissure of the supply was closed after the Sparta earthquake in 2020.

What is unique about Faith’s water supply is that one well does not serve only the area surrounding it. Instead, each well is linked together by pipes that both provide water to individual buildings while ensuring the reserve tank of 295,000 gallons is full. Gardner explained that once the backup tank of water is full, it signals the lines to stop supplying it, so it does not overflow.

“To put it into perspective, if you’re in the area right by a well, you’re more than likely getting fresh water pumped from the well,” Gardner explained. “However, that well’s water is also being pumped throughout the grid system along with the rest and could end up all the way across town. It all has to work together.”

Municipal Engineering gave the town an estimated 180-555 days for the project to be completed. The lengthy time frame is because the state has to oversee, approve and review each step of the process since the well is serving a whole municipality rather than a private, single home.

The voluntary reduction notice that was sent out to Faith residents stated that homeowners and businesses should limit the watering of lawns and gardens to twice a week. All homes east of Main Street should water Monday and Friday while all others on the west side should water Tuesday and Saturday.

A letter written by Mayor Randall Barger said, “We regret having to implement these restrictions; however, we feel that everyone recognizes how severe the situation could become.”

Town officials had no estimate on how long the reduction will last.