City well work races 100-degree days
With one half of Rockdale’s city water wells down for rehabilitation, and the memory of last year’s record hot summer seared into memory, local residents are—literally—going to be sweating out the repair process for another month.
Weisinger Incorporated employees are on the site of two wells, located at the H. H. Coffield Airport, US 77 at FM 908, according to City Mgr. Kelvin Knauf.
Rockdale residents have, so far, heeded a call to voluntarily conserve water, issued last month, according to David Akin, public works director.
“We appreciate what everyone’s been doing,” Akin said. “I believe it’s made a difference and we need to keep conserving. We’re looking at the end of June for this project to be complete and then we can get back to using all four wells.”
Last year was Rockdale’s hottest summer ever with highs of 100 degrees or greater recorded on 94 days.
In 2011, the first 100-degree reading was June 2 and it was 100 or greater on 77 percent of all days, June through September.
“We had plent y of days last summer when city residents used 1.9- million gallons and a few days over 2 million,” Akin said. “Of course, we need to get these wells fixed before we approach anything like that this year.”
CAPACITY—Even when the two Airport wells go back on line, the city’s pumping capacity will be diminished.
“It’s not a pump problem. Weisinger is replacing the casing,” Akin said. “We’ll end up with a smaller diameter casing and a smaller pump,” he said.
“Currently, each well is rated for 670 to 700 gallons per minute,” he said. “They’re estimating when the project is over they’ll come back on line at 400 to 450.”
“But we won’t really know until we get them tested,” he added.
Officials also won’t know if the current voluntary water rationing request will become mandatory until the temperatures kick up into the usual 100-degree range and they can gauge the full effect of voluntary conservation.
So far, the spring of 2012 has been punctuated with occasional rainfalls. But no one is counting on those lasting all summer.
CONSERVATION—In the meantime, city officials continue to request voluntary water conservation and list the following tips:
• Run washing machines and dishwashers only when full.
• Water lawns in the evening or at night.
• Take shorter showers.
• Use a broom or leaf blower instead of a water hose to clean driveways and sidewalks.
• Check for water leaks. If your water meter dial is running and no water is being used, you have a leak.
• Don’t overwater lawns or plants. (Check for moisture two to three inches below the surface before watering.
• Don’t use running water to thaw food; defrost in the refrigerator instead.
• Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while scraping them clean.
• Don’t water the law n on windy days. Most of the water evaporates anyway.
• Turn off the nozzle while washing vehicles.
“Reducing the amount of water used will not only help provide an adequate supply of water, it could also reduce your water bill,” Knauf said.