Repairs to Well 14 on 's west side have been completed. And with the well successfully passing bacteriological tests on Wednesday, it should be back up and running by Friday.
Director Mike Pubentz said he received word Wednesday that the water being pumped through the well passed the safety test. Public Works staff began preparations to treat that water on Wednesday, and should finish up by Thursday, Pubentz said.
"We anticipate putting Well 14 back into the system on Friday, January 20," he said.
That’s good news for the residents of Boulder Hill, who have been dealing with rusty, foul-smelling water coming from their sinks and showers since the well’s motor failed in November, forcing it offline.
With Well 14 down, village staff had to start pumping water west from other parts of the village, and the change in direction has shaken loose rust deposits that built up in the cast-iron pipes below Boulder Hill, Pubentz said.
The residents of Boulder Hill can attest to that—some have stained showers and toilets, and others have complained that the water has turned their hair orange. After fielding several complaints, and listening to more in person at the Jan. 9 Village Board meeting, trustees agreed to pay an extra $7,600 to expedite repair of the well.
The initial timeline would have seen the well return to duty in mid-March.
Crews from Layne Christensen worked double shifts, weekends included, to bring the well back online. They used a motor that had been earmarked for the still-under-construction Well 15, to speed up repairs. The well was brought back online on Monday, and crews conducted a three-hour pumping test, as well as a bacteriological test.
During the testing period, water pumped from the well was dumped into the village's storm sewer, not sent into the water system, officials said.
Pubentz said the repair of Well 14 should alleviate the rusty water problems, but probably not right away. He and Village Engineer Pete Wallers both said the rust should begin clearing up within a week of the well going back online.
In the meantime, Boulder Hill residents have been advised to flush their pipes out regularly. Some residents have asked for compensation on their water bills for all the water they’re using to do this, but any decision on compensation would come from the Village Board, and the trustees have all agreed to put that discussion off until the problem is fixed.
Even though Well 14 remains offline, at least one Boulder Hill resident is saying her water has cleared up.
"The water is much better, almost normal," said Kathy Heiden on Wednesday. She and her family had seen rust stains form on their shower, toilet and washing machine over the past two months.
But Dale Sleeman, who lives on Ashlawn Avenue, said he hasn't seen any improvement.
"If anything, the water has gotten worse," he said.
Boulder Hill is an unincorporated area in Kendall County south of Montgomery, and the village provides its water. Last month, village staff sent out 700 letters to potentially affected homes, and Pubentz said his staff has determined that the affected area stretches roughly from Boulder Hill Pass to the north and east, and Circle Drive West to the south and west.