California officials issue water emergency during city budget meeting

2023-03-23 17:50:41 By : Ms. Monica Pan

The City of California issued a water emergency during Monday's city budget meeting, due to a situation involving water supply to the Cargill plant, but it does not impact other customers.

Mayor Rich Green told the board there was a last minute item added to the agenda that required attention. Kyle Wirts, California water and sewer supervisor, informed aldermen Well Number 7 began pumping out rust into the water. This was due to the well's steel casing collapsing above it.

The steel casing was placed in the city's wells down to about 400 feet, Green told the Democrat. Workers then drilled down 1,200 feet to get fresh water. However, due to the well's age, its interior is breaking down.

California drilled the well in 1969 and its electric submersible pump was set at 600 feet. When workers recently turned the pump on, it started purging large quantities of the casing. Green clarified the casing is collapsed above it, somewhere between the surface and 400 feet. He said a sizable part of the casing crumbled.

He said this is an issue that can happen with pipe over 50 years old. Green explained city workers will pull the pump to try and salvage it, although it's likely the city will have to drill another well.

The city issued the water emergency to signal assistance from state aid agencies such as the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency. The pump is attached to Cargill's plant in California, one of the city's biggest employers. Although workers diverted water from a separate pump to the business, the city wants to get the demand well fixed so everything can remain operational. There is no danger regarding usage of city water stemming from the damaged well.

In other business, while members agree with the majority of terms set in the budget, aldermen debated the city's cost of living raise for employees and certified registered workers. The Board of Aldermen will finalize the city's 2023-24 budget on March 27 at 7 p.m.

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