Well failure caused by broken shaft (July 15, 2022)

BULLHEAD CITY — A broken shaft on a pump was responsible for the failure of a high-producing well that left many Bullhead City residents with little or no water earlier in the week.

Bullhead City Utilities Director Mark Clark said Thursday afternoon that a crew from Phoenix-based Layne Christensen, a water management, construction and drilling company, working with crews from the city utilities division managed to pull parts of the city's 16.1 well out of the ground to diagnose why the well's production dropped significantly over the weekend.

“We finally got the well taken apart and found out what happened,” Clark said Thursday. “Broken shaft is what it turned out to be.”

Rather than repairing only the shaft in a 30-year-old pump, Clark said the city will be acquiring a new pump for the well that, when fully operational, produces more than 2,000 gallons of water per minute, the second-highest total among the city's wells.

“We don't want to put a 30-year-old pump back in the ground,” Clark said, “because we might find ourselves having to do this all over again in the near future.”

He said the new pump is expected to arrive “probably early next week” to be installed and the well should be back in service as early as late next week.

Clark said the utilities department will be presenting a bill of about $71,000 to the Bullhead City Council in early August for emergency approval.

He said the cost included the pump, the work done to diagnose the problem and the work to reinstall the pump that operates about 250 feet below the surface.

In the interim, nearby wells 16.2 and 16.4 are “providing service to the system in that area.”

Well 16.1 is near the intersection of Mesa Vista and Sierra Vista drives, north of the City Square shopping center. The well feeds a system that spans from North Oatman Road to Ramar Road, east of Highway 95.

The well began failing over the weekend, with residents and businesses in the area reporting a loss of water pressure.

By Monday morning, many homes and businesses had no water pressure at all, while others reported having very low pressure.

“Most of the homes are back to normal,” Clark said, noting that a few in the immediate area surrounding the failed well still may have lower-than-normal water pressure.

Source: BILL McMILLEN, The Daily News