5/29/2014 11:34:00 AM New city water well put on hold by DEQ
By Van Mitchell
The City of Perkins attempt to add a fourth water well source for its residents has been put on hold after the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality last week denied the City's variance request for the new well.
City Manager Bob Ernst who took office in January, said the City was told by DEQ that the new well it drilled last year just north of the Sonic on State Highway 33 wasn't in compliance with DEQ water well standards.
"The city had to apply for a variance for the well location because DEQ standards say it must be 300 feet from standing water, 300 feet from a sewer line and 300 feet a highway, all of which we were not in compliance with when the well was initially drilled," Ernst said. "None of those things were taken into account. We applied for the variance and were ultimately denied by DEQ."
Ernst said the new well would have pumped about 200 gallons of water per minute and was targeted to help meet Perkins water needs now and for future growth. He said the City spent about $13,000 on top of a $60,186.50 grant from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board for the new well. That cost includes three previous attempts at drilling wells around town.
Ernst said he was shocked and dismayed that the new well hadn't been in compliance.
"I was shocked," Ernst said. "I wish things were done differently but we have to play the hand we are dealt."
Ernst said a portion of the grant money may have to be repaid, but said he is working with OWRB officials to determine if repayment exceptions can be made due to the circumstances of the project.
"Some portion of that grant may need to be repaid because the well project wasn't done correctly," he said.
Ernst said he has been working on alternative sources for water so the City won't have to enact possible water rationing this summer.
"We are researching drilling a well and being compliant with DEQ standards," he said. "We are also researching getting water from Stillwater through the Kaw Reservoir which we have water rights to. We don't have a shortage, but we don't want to have to ration water either."
Ernst said the problem with the Kaw Reservoir is the City of Stillwater is the only community with a water line running south but it doesn't reach Perkins.
"We would have to enlist the help of Rural Water District 3 about them transporting Stillwater's water down to us where we could pick it up at the city limits," he said. "We have been working with them and the City of Stillwater on this issue."