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Davis Journal

Church Well up and running but changes are coming

Oct 09, 2023 02:17PM ● By Linda Petersen

CENTERVILLE—The historic Church Well built in 1933 is back up and running after being offline since mid-June. The well, located on the corner of 200 South and 200 East, has been popular with Centerville residents and others looking for a source for non-fluoridated water. Although compared to other city wells its yield is low at about one million gallons a year, the well’s fill station is busy at all hours of the day and night, Public Works Director Mike Carlson said.

In June Carlson reported to the city council that the fill station’s AC pump was no longer working. The city then hired a contractor to inspect the pumps. That contractor determined that both pumps needed to be replaced at a cost of just under $25,000. The city ordered the new pumps which took several weeks to come in. They were installed in mid-August and the city brought the well back online later that month. The repairs are expected to last for 10 to 15 years, Carlson said.

After giving his report Carlson suggested the city council consider limiting the hours people are allowed to access the well. Currently it is available 24/7 but the city has received complaints from neighbors who are being disturbed at night, he said. One recommendation that was discussed was to limit the hours to the same schedule as the city’s parks: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“I definitely think there needs to be a restriction similar to what's at the parks so that the surrounding neighbors are not being asked to deal with headlights noise at night,” Councilmember Gina Hirst said. “I think they should have the same expectation as anyone else that’s around a park that there should be some quiet hours.”

Another option of 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. was discussed. Whichever option the council decided on, the city could put a timer on the well for those hours, Carlson said. 

He also asked the council if they would like to consider implementing a water use fee for the well. This could be easily done by requiring Church Well users to purchase an electronic card that would allow them to access the well, he said. He suggested the city charge residents a small fee for the cards which would not ever need to be reloaded. Non-residents would have to load a certain dollar amount on the card and then reload it when those funds were depleted. This system would require minimal staff time and would be self-regulating, he said.

Several council members seemed to support this idea. 

“I’ve actually had multiple residents suggest that we charge to cover the maintenance costs and others the $25,000 we just spent,” Councilmember Bill Ince said. “And that, in essence, what you said is residents have a card, and maybe there’s a $5 or $10 issuance fee the first time but their cards are good forever. Whether they’re charged per gallon or whether they’re charged per year that goes into a fund to handle the maintenance.”

Centerville should make the needs of its residents its first priority, Councilmember George McEwan said. “When we have people who are coming in from out of town with a 55-gallon drum filling up, I don’t have a problem trying to literally slow the flow by making it a little less convenient. There are plenty of card-based services that we can do that will have a pretty low burden where they can even recharge the card online. They wouldn’t have to come into the office to do that. I would be supportive if the thing is a pretty much turnkey environment that we’re just putting up a swipe pad and charging by some reasonable increment. I don’t care if somebody from out of town wants to come and use it but …. this is a resource that should be oriented towards our citizens. And I’d be really surprised if a million gallons of that water ended up in Centerville.”

At the end of the discussion, the city council asked Carlson to look into an electronic card system and to report back to them on its cost and efficacy. No action was taken to limit the well’s hours. λ