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Repairs made to newer well in Bonne Terre

The city of Bonne Terre recently had to pull one of their wells because of performance issues and later found there was damage after it was inspected.

Bonne Terre Public Works Superintendent Shawn Kay said well 4 in Bonne Terre City Park, which is the newest well, was having issues. They asked a company to come in and assess the well because they were losing performance.

“We actually have a variance frequency drive where we can adjust it to tell the well how much output it needs, through the amount of electricity we use to pump the water,” said Kay. “That thing had been cranked almost all the way up to be able to produce the same amount of water that it had six months prior to that.”

Kay explained they did try to test the well. There is an air line that goes down into the well they can use to test the level of the well and it was showing there was no water in the well. He said at the time they didn’t know whether the line was cut, the well had an issue, or the water table had dropped.

“After pulling the well we found out there was a hole in the casing that is on a two-year loan and that severed the air line, which did allow us to check the level of the water in that aquifer,” Kay said. “We have since found that the water level is where it should be in the aquifer and the problem was the air line, which has since been replaced.”

Kay said there were five couplers and three pieces of pipe that had to be replaced when they pulled the well and had it inspected. He added they were either due to faulty pipe or faulty installation when it was put in, but he can’t say which.

“As you can see from the pictures, we were really close to that thing being cut all the way through by the water pressure and it dropping into the bottom of the well, which is 483 feet currently,” stressed Kay. “The well depth is 900 feet and it would have been quite an expedition to get that out from the bottom of the well.”

Kay said it was a good catch and the overall total cost of that was less than $11,000, which no one wants to swallow, but it was something that had to be done and it was outside of the warranty.

“If you look at the pictures, you can see the hole,” said Kay. “If I looked from the outside you could actually see daylight through there. If you look at the pipe edge you can how the water spray has scoured the pipe and made it nice and clean. If you look to the side you can see how the pipe is rusted. That is what all the rest of the pipes look like where the water was spraying out.”

Kay said anyone can see in the pictures where it was eroded on the inside and out. He added there was evidence of that same thing with five different couplers and three pieces of pipe to the point they felt it was a good idea to replace them.

“About six to eight months ago we saw production begin to fall. It was about the time we had the drought, so we were monitoring and watching it,” recalled Kay. “It just got to the point where we felt like it was something we needed to have investigated.”

Kay said the original company who installed it was Midwest Hydro and he wasn’t here at the time, but he can say the council who was here at the time was not happy with the way things were handled.

“They were not the company who came out to make the repairs. Flynn Drilling came out to make the repairs,” said Kay. “The well has been repaired and it is now up and running and there appears to be no more issues.”

Kay said well 4 is back in normal rotation. He added well 3 and 4 alternate, with one running for a while and then they will switch so they don’t get overtaxed.

Bonne Terre Public Works Superintendent Shawn Kay discusses issues with water well 4 during a recent meeting.

Bonne Terre Public Works Superintendent Shawn Kay discusses issues with water well 4 during a recent meeting.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or

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