Williams struggles to provide drinking water

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The Williams City Council has approved another large lump of cash in an effort to restore one of the city’s most critical pieces of infrastructure – Well No. 9. 

The city council, in a special meeting on Feb. 27, authorized an additional $45,407 to complete the rehabilitation work on the well, along with $20,000 contingency for additional work, if needed. 

The well is absolutely critical to the city’s water supply, officials said. 

“Without it, we will be down to two functioning wells that do not have filtration systems,” said City Administrator Frank Kennedy. 

The cost to repair Well No. 9 will total about $133,000, with funding coming from the Water Enterprise Fund. 

Well No. 9 has been rehabilitated twice before, but it went down in September. City officials said they are only optimistic this latest phase of work will help it stay online for an extended period of time. 

“We would love to tell you that this is going to fix it and we are not going to have to touch it for the next 10 years, but we just don’t know,” Kennedy told the council.  

The Williams City Council has struggled with increasing infrastructure needs for some time, but failed to garner a supermajority (two-thirds of the council) vote, in November, to put a half-cent sales tax measure before voters on the March 3 primary ballot as an emergency to deal with some of the critical needs of the city. 

The measure, had it passed, would have added about $600,000 to city coffers this year, mostly from gasoline sales, to help with infrastructure costs, which includes replacing aging water mains. 

“The last two meetings, I’ve stressed the importance that we have the infrastructure that is slowly fading away, and how important it is that we step up and take measures to secure it, improve it, and rebuild it, if necessary,” said Councilman Sajit Singh. “This is serious stuff. I drink the water here.” 

The parts for Well No. 9 have been ordered and a small concrete pad poured for the sand separator. 

Installation of the pump and sand separator is tentatively scheduled for the week of March 16. 

“This city is dependent on wells (groundwater) 100 percent,” said Mayor Alfred Sellers Jr. ■