Cassville well struck by lightning gets repaired

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

City adjusts budget, drops capital project to afford fix

A city of Cassville well was struck by lightning in April, and the city has now paid off the cost of repairs made a week after the incident occurred.

Steve Walensky, Cassville public works director, said the city spent $35,490 on the repairs, with $24,600 spent on repairs directly credited to the lightning strike, and $10,890 going to other repairs needed at Well No. 4 near Walmart.

"We have a maintenance agreement with Flynn Drilling, who specialize in these big wells," he said. "Every year, they check all six of our wells and check things like the motors and pumps. The concern rose because the previous year, that well was running at 50 ohms, and this year, it was running at 8 ohms, and dropped to 3 ohms after being on for 30 minutes."

Well No. 4 is the largest of Cassville's six wells, as it fills a 750,000-gallon tank, while each of the other five only fill 150,000-gallon tanks.

"The lightning arrestor on the tank was damaged, so we had to shut it down until it was assessed, and luckily, it only runs every 7-10 days because it has the lowest demand of all the wells," Walensky said. "There were some pinholes we found, and the only way to tell where they are is to pull the well. Had we not acted when we did, the motor could have blown, and that would have cost us another $30,000."

The city spent the $24,600 for repairs related to the lightning strike, and since the well was pulled, spent another $10,890 on added repairs to things like valves and couplings.

The city's distribution maintenance budget had a reserve of $16,643 to put toward the project, and the city's insurance company, Midwest Public Risk, paid $11,050 for lightning damages, which is 50 percent of the total cost, less a $2,500 deductible.

Even with the insurance money and the reserve funds, the city was still $7,797 short for the repairs, so Walensky said it decided to drop an emergency wiring project from the capital improvements list, freeing up $10,000 from the capital improvements budgets to cover the total cost.

"Everything has been repaired and the well is back to normal," Walensky said.

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