Lucas Billesbach, a project manager for JEO Consulting Group of Carroll, explains the potential for new water wells to the city council on Monday night. <span style="font-size: xx-small;"><em>Daily Times Herald photo by Douglas Burns</em></span>
Lucas Billesbach, a project manager for JEO Consulting Group of Carroll, explains the potential for new water wells to the city council on Monday night. Daily Times Herald photo by Douglas Burns
Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Carroll City Council members Monday took initial steps with what is expected to be a $100,000 test-drilling project to scout the best locations for adding new water wells.

“I’m not comfortable with what took place this summer,” said City Manager Gerald Clausen.

The council voted 6-0 to allow JEO Consulting of Carroll to proceed with putting the drilling project out to bid.

JEO identified three potential well fields — in  the northwest part of the city, north of the Carroll Armory; west of U.S. Highway 71 in a farm field and one mile west of U.S. Highway 71 on Pleasant Ridge Road. Wells in the those fields could generate between 500 and 700 gallons per minute.

Public Works director Randy Krauel said such production would be a major boost to the water-supply situation.

“It would get us a long ways,” Krauel said in an interview “It’s so difficult to solve, solve the problem.”

Lucas Billesbach, project manager for JEO, told the Carroll City Council the full project would take 21/2 to three years for completion. His report lists an estimated construction cost of $1.7 million to $2.8 million.

Krauel didn’t have a time table for the test drilling but said bids should come back relatively quickly.

The city has eight wells along the Middle Raccoon River between Grant Road and U.S. Highway 71. The wells reach down 150 feet to 203 feet. The city in 2009 added the eighth well which has improved reliability of water service.

The collective results of hundreds of individual decisions to suspend lawn-and-landscape irrigation around Carroll — and the arrival of some rain in the last three weeks — have improved the level of the city’s aquifer, the source of potable water for residents and businesses

Having reached a recent low of 84 feet below surface on July 17, the aquifer level has improved to better than 80 feet below surface. At some point after 86 feet below surface the pumps break suction, creating the real potential for faucets to run dry in the city.