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Nearing their third week without a steady supply of water, Lakeview Subdivision residents are feeling the pressure.
Just a day before Father’s Day, one of the wells in Lakeview Subdivision, which supplied water to approximately 25 homes, dried up causing the motor to burn out and left several families without a steady supply of water.
Well owner and private developer Mike Hartley, Sr. said he has been working with several outside agencies in an effort to find a permanent solution for this problem.
Unfortunately, Hartley said every time they come up with a possible solution, three or more reasons come up as to why they can’t. However, with help from area businesses and agencies, such as Wehmeyer Farms, Silex Fire Protection, Elsberry Fire Protection, Boonslick Regional Planning Commission and Elsberry City Officials, som
e efforts have been made to ensure Lakeview residents are not completely without.
“I can’t say enough about how much I appreciate all of their help,” Hartley Sr. said. “It’s been stressful to say the least and it has been a very unfortunate situation, surely something I didn’t want to happen.”
Hartley Sr. said he is sure there are people who believe that he could have done something to stop it but the circumstances that led up to the problem were, in his words, unavoidable. The first problem, according to Hartley Sr., was the power went out in that morning, which could have led to the pump going out. Another problem that occurred, was the pump could have single faded.
“We put a new pump in that Friday at about 7 p.m., ran it for about 10 minutes and then ran out of water,” Hartley Sr. said. “There are several reasons this could have happen. Either the water table dropped, which the well is 46-years old and nothing lasts forever or it could have been from too many people irrigating, filling their lakes and what have you, but naturally the table would drop.”
Hartley said the thing about that particular well is that it was drilled in 1966 and if anyone was too stop and think about how many, thousands, of wells have been drilled since then in the surrounding areas. Seeing as there has been much growth in the areas of Lincoln County since that time, which adds more water lines, pumps and people, most of who all have their own wells, Hartley said it all takes a toll and forces the water table to drop.
“What we are attempting to do now, and we have been very fortunate to receive help with the City of Elsberry, Kevin Hailey and his fire crew, Wehmeyer Farms, who loaned us a truck that we were able to put about 4000 gallons or water into and set a pump up to; We were at least able to get water to homes so people could stool, wash dishes and take showers,” Hartley Sr. said. “[Elsberry Mayor Terry Martin] called me at noon on that Friday wanting to know if I could get a pump out there and by 1 p.m. I was out there installing a pump and by 3:30 p.m. they had a truck out there with water, I got it hooked up by 4:30 p.m. to the pressure pump and by 6:30 p.m. we were able to turn the water back on for the homes.”
Hartley Sr. said although this took almost a week to do from the time the initial problem started, he hopes people understand that every time they have tried coming up with a better more permanent solution DNR would come in and say this can’t be done or that can’t be done, which limited what they could and could not do. According to Hartley Sr. it took approximately one week before they were able to figure out what they could do and still meet regulatory standards.
“Basically, the regulations have changed since that well was drilled, I mean DNR probably didn’t even exist when that well was done,” Hartley Sr. said. “But it’s pretty much a residential well and it was originally dug by Victor Wallis. Well when Wallis had his own way of doing things, but more so when the well was drilled it wasn’t feeding as many people as we see today and I’m sure when he drilled that well he didn’t know that someday it would serve 25 houses.”
Hartley said it was essentially just a standard household well that anyone would use for their home during that time and is approximately 345 foot deep. However, Hartley said that had Wallis just went a little deeper approximately 40 foot further into the St. Peters Sand, they may not have had the problem they are seeing today.
According to him, DNR is asking that he drill a commercial well, which cost approximately $30,000 “easily.”
“With the way the receivables and the collecting money troubles I have had; I have 50 percent of the people that pay on time and what they should, 50 percent don’t. Twenty percent just never pay and the system was old when I took it over and part of it could be meters.”
Hartley said when he looked into this approximately 10-years ago, he decided not to have meters installed and water lines in because the city was tossing around the idea of running their sewers lines up there and possibly attaching Lakeview Subdivision to Elsberry City water.
“So why would I install all that just to have the City come right behind me and tear it all up by installing their lines,” Hartley Sr. said. “However, I later found out they have been talking about doing that for about 13-years and had I known it wasn’t going to be done just yet I would have had those lines installed, but just like Victor Wallis that would have taken hindsight and I just didn’t think far enough ahead.”
Although Hartley said he has seemed to hit a snag at every turn, the help he has received has been a “breathe of fresh air.” According to him, he has received storage tanks from the Silex Fire Protection Department, which he says has no set time on needing to go back. The Elsberry Fire Protection Department has been delivering water at least a few times a day and the City of Elsberry is apparently discussing the attachment more diligently, although it would take up to six-months before it would be complete.
“We want people to understand that every measure that can be looked at is being looked at,” Hailey said. “Right now the most important thing they can do is conserve water. Only use it for stooling, showers and try to do dishes once a day.”
Hailey said residents should try to avoid filling their pools, watering their gardens and anything else recreational until a more permanent solution is made. According to Hailey, he believes that they have a pretty could handle on the situation right now but not conserving could quickly set the situation backwards.
“We will continue to run water out there to fill the individual tanks as long as we can but we will need to come up with another solution sometime in the future,” Hailey said.
“Currently there is no time table on when we [as a department] have to stop doing this a more sound improvement is going to have to be made fairly quickly.”
Currently the fuel cost for the Elsberry Fire Protection department is approximately $15 a day and is coming out of their budget. However, Hailey said his guys have really come together and everyone has been volunteering their time to make sure those residents are not without.
“We have a schedule setup right now, where we are sending out two guys everyday, whether in the morning or afternoon and my guys who aren’t working during the day have been running out their on their time as well. I don’t think we have actually run out of water yet,” Hailey said. “I can’t say enough about Silex and what they have done as well. They have had these tankers sitting there, which are being used for above ground storage, for as long as the residents may need it. At this time I know of no time frame of when Silex is asking for their return.”
Although, Hartley Sr. said they are still looking into better solutions, every one seems to be doing OK at the moment.
“We will get it figured out,” Hartley Sr. said. “It may take some time but in the end we will come up with a solution that will work for every one. All I can say at this point is thank you too all those who have stepped up and lent a hand and thank you to the residents of Lakeview for being patient and understanding of this problem.”