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UPDATE: City well problems lead to watering restrictions

Collapsing sand in the recharge area for Well No. 8 led Hudson Water Utility Director Tim Caruso to impose outdoor watering restrictions in the city. Water from the well is filtered for the removal of iron and manganese in the building shown here, located at Hanley and O'Neil roads. The water is stored in tower in the distance.1 / 2
The well at 560 Gray St. was shut down more than three weeks ago after a well shaft column collapsed deep in the ground. The failure has put a strain on Hudson's water production during the peak season for water use.2 / 2

Level 1 outdoor watering restrictions remain in effect for property owners in Hudson following problems experienced with two city wells.

The use of lawn sprinklers and irrigation systems is banned from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Properties with even-number addresses may be watered at night on even dates, and properties with odd-number addresses may be watered at night on odd dates. New grass or sod may be watered any day between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The watering of streets, sidewalks and driveways is prohibited under the Level 1 restrictions provided for in the city code. Watering also is banned when it is raining.

Hudson Water Utility Director Tim Caruso imposed the restrictions on July 2 after a cave-in beneath city Well No. 8 resulted in sand getting into the tap water of homes and businesses served by the well.

Well No. 8 is located next to Weitkamp Park at the intersection of Hanley and O'Neil roads.

In a July 2 email message to city officials and the local media, Caruso indicated that sand got into the water distribution system serving homes in the Red Cedar Canyon neighborhood, as well as businesses in the area of Carmichael Road south of Interstate 94.

Caruso said the well was temporarily shut down and slowly brought back on line.

He said the cave-in occurred after the pump was speeded up the morning of July 2 to provide 125 percent of normal production. The well is supposed to be able to produce that volume of water, he said.

Well No. 9, located across O'Neil Road from No. 8, also was ramped up to 125 percent of normal production and didn't experience any trouble, according to Caruso.

The utility flushed mains in the affected area to get the sand out, and the problem apparently hasn't reoccurred.

Gray Street well

The city well at 560 Gray St. has been shut down for a month as the result of a collapsed shaft column deep in the ground. The failure has put a strain on Hudson's water production during the peak season for water use.

The 543-foot-deep well is the utility's least productive, but it helps keep reservoirs filled during the summer months when water demand is high.

The Water Utility is awaiting the arrival of parts to return the well to operation.

The reason for the watering restrictions is to keep the utility's water towers filled to 75 percent of capacity, which maintains water pressure for homes, businesses and institutions.

According to Caruso, less than 50 percent of the water reaches the grass and plants when lawns are irrigated on hot, sunny days.

"You are simply throwing your money away," he said.

Irrigating at night not only conserves water, but money, because electric rates are lower during the off-peak, night hours, Caruso added.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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