Well expected to return to service today (September 29, 2022)

BULLHEAD CITY — There’s no good time for a well failure or an outage of water service. But, as Bullhead City Utilities officials learned, some times are better than others.

The city’s short-term solution following a well pump failure Monday created another problem that, fortunately, was quickly fixed because the contractor needed to perform the work already was in town making similar repairs in the city’s water system.

The latest development in the ongoing maintenance saga following the city’s acquisition of EPCOR Water Arizona’s local system began Monday, when a pump motor failed in a well that serves homes and businesses along Highway 95 between First and Seventh streets.

At 5 a.m., the system’s electronic Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System issued a motor fault warning and crews discovered that the well’s submersible pump had failed, ceasing the well’s ability to proceed water.

Knowing that replacing the well motor would be a project that could take several days, Utilities Division staff devised a plan to reroute water to the affected customers from the system south of First Street.

To reroute the water, it required a reverse flow through a pressure reducing and control valve located next to Bullhead City Fire Department’s Station 2, across from Bullhead Community Park.

That, city officials thought, would restore water service in the area and buy the city the necessary time to repair the well.

But when the water flow was rerouted, the PRV failed.

Water poured onto Highway 95.

Suddenly, the city not only had a well to repair but also needed to replace a PRV valve to restore temporary service.

Fortunately, Prestige Worldwide Technologies crews already were in town, repairing or replacing 130 similar valves in the system acquired by the city when it took over operation and ownership of EPCOR’s system last year.

Prestige Worldwide Technologies began its work Sept. 12.

Prestige was able to fix the valve, restoring service to the area and allowing the city to return focus to the well. It reduced the outage, as bad as it was, from days to hours.

It would not have worked if we didn’t rebuild the PRV, Cory Hinkle, Bullhead City Utilities water production and distribution manager, said. The valve seat was completely gone and rusted to the body of the valve, and the PRV contractor had to use power tools, chisels, files … to get the old parts out of the valve so that they could install the new ones.

The well is expected to be back online today.

Bullhead City Utilities personnel removed the pump, piping and cable from 300 feet below the surface. New equipment is being installed.

The pump and motor seem to be from 2016, Hinkle said, although the city received little or no data to confirm the age or maintenance scheduled for any parts of the well installed by EPCOR. The wire and piping may have been over 15 years old.

He said utilities personnel theorize that fluctuating power through the aged wiring may have caused the pump to fail prematurely.

It’s not something we can prove, but electric motors don’t do well with inconsistent power, Hinkle said.

The cost of the emergency repairs to the well was estimated at $20,000.

Bullhead City Manager Toby Cotter previously said that EPCOR’s deferred maintenance may have created many of the issues the city has encountered since taking over the system last September.

Some of that’s been deferred, Cotter told the Bullhead City Council earlier this year. Some of that should have been spent years ago (by EPCOR), some of it’s being spent (by the city) now. EPCOR deferred a lot and we can’t make up for it all at once.

Source: Mohave Valley Daily News