Troublesome water well still giving city workers fit

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Madisonville Public Works employees are still struggling with water well No. 3 – which in addition to other uses, feeds the city’s Splash Pad attraction at Lake Madison Park – an issue that has now stretched on for months.

Kevin Story, director of public works, told city council members at their regular meeting Monday evening that past measures to keep the well from “tripping” when it faces an electricity overload have stopped working.

“We are running a lot better, but sometimes still hitting that seven percent variance (that triggers the well to shut down),” Story told the council.

Each of the city’s wells has a “motor saver,” a regulator designed to protect well motors from electricity overloads and underloads. The manufacturer of the regulators set an allowance of five percent, which has been the average overload at Water Well No. 3.

In early May, Story called to ensure that the manufacturer’s warranty would still be honored if the variance was reset to seven percent. City workers then adjusted the regulator, which allowed for a delayed opening of the Splash Pad.

The fix apparently didn’t last. Story said the well has tripped at least 160 times this year. Consultant Roy Lackey of Advanced Electrical Solutions in The Woodlands attached a recorder to the well and provided a readout that showed inconsistent power flow to the well.

“About half of it looks like a bad EKG,” Story said.

The culprit still may be a service issue from Entergy or perhaps the control panels installed outdoors and facing the elements. The city will be replacing that and other electrical panels when available.

In other matters Monday, the council opened discussions to consider some sort of measure on W. Trinity St. to make it safer as it passes by N. Commerce St. just out of downtown. A pedestrian/vehicle incident near Standley Feed and Seed spurred the request from Susan Standley.

During a lengthy discussion, council members, city manager Camilla Viator and Police Chief Herbert Gilbert weighed the benefits and detriments of installed a speed bump, new signage (with and without lights) and a crosswalk in the area to warn drivers of pedestrians and encourage walkers to cross only at safer places.

Viator also said an $800,000 grant for work at the airport had been received and work begun. The city will also receive $1.2 million from TxDOT Aviation for runway strengthening and lengthening.

Viator said the city is also applying for a $4.4 million grant from the Texas Water Development Board to repair and enhance the city’s sewer lines.

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