East Carson residents’ wells drying up
Joanne Brentlinger could see the water in her home had low pressure, but she and her husband didn’t really know what that meant.
The home they bought three years ago on the corner of Valley View and Edmonds Drive had plenty of open space for their children and a beautiful view of surrounding hills. It was their first home that had a well in the back yard to supply the house with water.
“You turn the faucet on and assume it will come on,” Brentlinger said.
Last week, Brentlinger went to turn on her faucets and nothing came out. Her well was dry.
Now, she and her husband face a $10,000 bill to drill the well deeper with the hopes of finding water, but it could be a temporary solution.
In the fourth year of drought, city water officials are facing the same problems. They watch the water table drop deeper every month, and no one knows if it will drop again next year.
“We’re praying we can drill another 100 feet and get water, but that’s a gamble,” Joanne Brentlinger said. “We could drill 100 feet and find nothing but sand.”
At $26 per foot to drill, an $800 setup fee and the price of a new pump, the contractor said to expect a project cost of $10,000.
“There’s no guarantee,” she said.
Other residents are reporting drops of 50 feet, with the lower table level causing a variety of problems across the city. With continued hot weather and little water to percolate down, the water table is not able to recover to a normal level, said Tom Hoffert, utilities director for the city.
“My wells have given me problems all summer,” Hoffert said.
The city deals with the same issues homeowners are facing this year with it’s own wells and is starting a program to drill test wells and develop new production wells. Hoffert said the plan is to put one new well into production this year and have one or two new ones installed by June of next year.
Mike Massey, a neighbor of the Brentlingers, said he has spent about $10,000 in the past month drilling his well from 156 feet to 356 feet to find more water after he came dangerously close to losing his supply.
Massey wanted to hook up to the city’s main water line 900 feet away but was told it would cost about $30,000.
“It doesn’t make sense,” Massey said.
Brentlinger is 390 feet from the city’s main line along Edmonds. The city won’t allow them to connect because the line would need to be relocated when the Carson Freeway is built in the area, said Tom Grundy, assistant city engineer in charge of permitting well drilling. And this despite the city rule that any homeowner within 400 feet of a water main must connect to city water.
With the impending freeway construction, the family would instead have to connect at a line 1,000 feet away.
After hearing Massey’s estimate, the Brentlingers decided to pay for a deeper well.
The neighborhood wouldn’t be facing high bills to drill wells at all if the city wasn’t drawing vast amounts of water from southeast Carson area to store at the Prison Hill tank at the end of Koontz Lane, Massey said.
Massey and the Brentlingers have a clear view of the massive city tank across Edmonds overlooking their neighborhood. The tank is capable of holding 3 million gallons.
Tank levels fluctuate more at Prison Hill than any other location in the city as it supplies the greater population of Carson, Hoffert said. Drilling more city wells is not planned for the Edmonds area in the near future, he said.
Brentlinger said she wants neighbors to look for warning signs with their water systems. Well companies in the Carson and Douglas County areas are so busy, it could be up to three months before they can provide service, she was told.
After running out of water, the Brentlingers went to their neighbors to ask to borrow water until they could find a fix. One neighbor to the west said they only had 15 minutes of water available each day and couldn’t help.
Fortunately, a neighbor to the north who had earlier hooked up to the city’s water main on Edmonds is allowing the family to temporarily hook up a pipe.
The family was able to get a well-drilling company from Reno to drive out and work on their well.