New well to be drilled after Harrison failure

The process of drilling a new well to tap the Carrizo Aquifer is underway after the recent failure of the Harrison Well.
City Engineer Raul Garcia explained at the Devine City Council meeting last Tuesday, June 25, that corrosive water eventually wore away the casing and screen of the Harrison Well, which he said was dug in 1969, leading to its failure.
“All of the sand came in, and it just quit pumping all of a sudden,” Garcia said.
Garcia estimated the cost of digging a new well at between $300,000 and $350,000, a figure the City will likely have to carry on its own after being denied an Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant (ECWAG) by the USDA.
“They denied it because to be eligible to be funded under this program, it has to be because of a flood, hurricane, earthquake, chemical spill, that type of thing,” Garcia said, “none of which this qualified.”
Garcia recommended a new well be dug near the Harrison Well, located on Tuttle Dr. behind Devine ISD’s transportation department, because of the ground storage tank and pump station already on location, but cautioned it needs to be 60 to 80 feet away.
“We normally like to get away from the immediate area where the well is because through the years, especially this well, it’s been pumping a lot of sand,” Garcia said. “And it creates a cone at the bottom of the well, and you don’t want to drill in that particular area because you cannot get the mud back up and it’s very difficult to drill.”
A nearby sewer line is an additional complication, as the new well must be dug at least 50 feet away.
Garcia recommended buying vacant property located to the north of the Harrison Well to ensure adequate space to dig a new one.
“As far as cost, it would probably be cheaper to do that than to move the well back on the south side because we have that sand trap,” Garcia said. “We would need to move the sand trap back to the south and that would run $20,000 to $25,000 just to do that.”
Non-emergency USDA loans are available, but the loss of the Harrison Well leaves just three active wells supplying drinking water to the City – the Bain Well on Dove Ave., which draws from the Carrizo Aquifer, and two Edwards Aquifer wells located on FM 1343.
“The problem with a regular-type loan from the USDA, it takes a long time to go through the process,” Garcia said. “And we need it quickly.”
A fifth well, located at the end of LC Martin Dr., has been out of commission for some time. Because it was dug through the use of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), it must be repaired. Garcia is currently working on plans for its filtration system.
A motion by District 2 Councilman Steve Lopez and District 4 Councilwoman Jennifer Schott passed 5-0, with District 3 Councilman David Espinosa, District 5 Councilman Cory Thompson, and District 1 Councilman David Valdez all voting for the measure.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer