Town installs unique well

Article by Lacey Jacobs

Excerpt from Washington Evening Journal - December 20, 2005

 

Richland - The first polyvinyl chloride-encased municipal well in Iowa and the upper Midwest has recently been completed in Richland by Gingerich Well and Pump of Kalona.

 

The original steel town well was drilled in 1952, and after inspecting the well in 2002, it was determined the well only had another three to five years of service left because of casing erosion.

 

The option of hooking the city to a rural water supplier and shutting down the city-controled water system was considered.  However, Richland's water treatment plant, which was built in 1992, was still mortgaged, and some council members favored saving the city's plant and well.

 

The alternative of drilling a similar well with a PVC casing became an option after Klint Gingerich presented the cost savings and durable material to the city.

 

Although it seemed as though a solution had been found, the State of Iowa would not issue the necessary permits and refused to recognize PVC as a deep well casing material.

 

The concern with using PVC is that while grouting the casing at extreme depth, there is a high risk of hydraulic collapse.

 

Gingerich Well and Pump, however, had developed a grouting technique that enabled the crew  to equalize the inner and outer casing pressures from water and air to reduce the likelihood of hydraulic collapse.

 

According to Gingerich,the technique had been developed for private wells and was simply applied to a public well.

 

However, the state still refused to approve the permit.

 

Then in December 2004, the well at Four Corners Truck Stop near Ainsworth failed, and MMS Consultants of Iowa City-which had joined the Richland project in October 2004-appealed to the state for an emergency permit and a variance to allow Gingerich Well and Pump to drill a 6" PVC-encased deep well using Gingerich's method.

 

A permit was issued and Gingerich's method was sucessful.

 

Soon after the state finally agreed to issue a permit, Gingerich Well and Pump began three weeks of construction, drilling to reach the Jordan aquifer in Richland.  Almost 50,000 gallons of water are distributed daily to the 300 Richland water accounts.

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