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Village approves test well in Somerset

At their meeting Wednesday evening, Feb. 22, trustees reviewed a proposal by MSA Professional Services engineer Chuck Schwartz to drill a test well at site #5 south of the elevated water reservoir on Tower Drive.

Should the new well site and test specifications receive WDNR approval, the data would be included in a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application intended to help cover the costs to complete a new well to replace Well #4. Well #4 has been pumping sand and water contaminated with unacceptable levels of manganese.

After contracting with the Wisconsin Geological & Natural History Survey to video Well #4, it was discovered that sand and gravel had been collapsing in on the screen below the casing through a breach in the bedrock. The casing, which would typically extend 10 feet into the bedrock stopped at two feet. The erosion of sand and gravel below the casing has left a number of gaps and vacancies around the well casing which would need to be addressed to salvage the well. The video also revealed a layer of clay 50 feet above the bedrock with sand and gravel between it and the bedrock below, potentially creating a source for good water.

Speculation is that good water leaking into the bedrock through the breach had been diluting the manganese to acceptable levels. The deeper the water was tested, the more manganese it contained. Were the breach to be filled as required to salvage the well, the cleaner water would stop filtering into the deeper water and the levels of manganese would again become unacceptable, making a new well a better solution.

The bids

MSA solicited bid proposals for the test well that used two different drilling methods, mud rotary and air rotary, so that contractors using one or the other method would not be excluded from submitting a bid.

After receiving six bids utilizing the mud rotary method and four bids utilizing the air rotary method, the air rotary method proved to be more affordable. By a vote of 4-1, trustees approved MSA's recommendation to award the project to Municipal Well & Pump for a total of $54,283 contingent on DNR approval of the new site.

The DNR is expected to rule of the new well site and test specifications in early March.

Trustees also approved MSA to prepare the CDBG application for a fee of $5,000. Schwartz recommended that the village obtain a line of credit with their bank, indicating that financing would be in place to strengthen the application.

"We're hoping to get a little more out of the community support that should be afforded this project. One suggestion we have to show support is that you establish a line of credit at the bank, not necessarily to draw on it, but it shows you are serious and you have financing in place. That should earn you a few extra points in the grant application," explained Schwartz.

The village is seeking up to $500,000 through the matching grant program.

The board also approved a proposal by Summit Envirosolutions not to exceed $5,000 to conduct pre-test well testing to determine the depth of the test well and to ensure that the aquifer water meets potable water standards at well site #5.

Members of the Somerset ATV Club presented a map laying out proposed ATV routes through the Village of Somerset. After review by Police Chief Tom Sirovatka, Public Works Director Bob Gunther and board members, several questions were raised regarding jurisdiction of certain sections of the proposed route and several alternate streets were suggested for reasons of traffic and safety.

Trustee Ryan Sicard moved to return the proposal to the public safety committee for further review and preparation of a corresponding ordinance.

Other business

• Trustees approved a wage of $17 per-hour for part-time officers serving the police department. They also approved the reinstatement of an LTE officer position in the police department starting at a wage of $18 per-hour Finally, trustees approved shift changes and revised coverages proposed by Police Chief Tom Sirovatka. Changes can be made at the discretion of the chief to provide the best coverage and coordination within the department's budget parameters.