Bullhead City, AZ., September 27, 2022- Bullhead City Utilities is investing $20,000 in an emergency repair to a well that serves homes and businesses along highway 95 from 1st Street to 7th Street. Bullhead City Utilities Staff became aware of an issue affecting the well the morning of Monday, September 26, at 5 a.m. when the City’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system issued a motor fault alarm. An immediate investigation into the problem discovered the motor in the well’s submersible pump had failed, preventing the well from producing water.
Knowing the necessary repairs to the well could take days to complete, City Staff in the Bullhead City Utilities Division began enacting a plan to reroute water to the affected customers from the water system south of 1st St. To reroute water, the City Staff would reverse flow through a pressure reducing and control valve (PRV) that is located right next to Bullhead Fire Department Station #2. The PRV would supply water with sufficient pressure to all affected customers and allow the City time to repair the well.
Rerouting water through a PRV is a simple matter when the PRV is fully operational, which this one wasn’t. Thanks to the foresight of the Bullhead City Utilities Division and the Bullhead City Council, the city purchased equipment and hired a contractor who began rehabilitating 130 PRVs throughout the city Monday, September 12. With equipment and a contractor on hand, the City was able to completely rebuild the PRV that connects the two portions of the system and restore water to customers around 1 p.m. the same day the well failed.
“It would not have worked if we didn’t rebuild the PRV,” said Cory Hinkle, Bullhead City Utilities Water Production and Distribution Manager. “The valve seat was completely gone and rusted to the body of the valve, the PRV contractor had to use power tools, chisels, files, etc. to get the old parts out of the valve so that they could install the new ones yesterday.”
With water service restored, Bullhead City Utilities is now focused on repairing the well which is expected to resume operation Thursday, September 29. Bullhead Utilities Staff successfully removed the old submersible pump, piping, and cable from 300 feet below the surface of the ground Monday, September 26. The removed pieces are all being replaced with new equipment.
“The pump and motor seem to be from 2016,” Hinkle said. ‘The wire and piping may have been over 15 years old.”
Bullhead City Utilities has no data to confirm the age or maintenance schedules for any of the parts of the well, which were all installed by EPCOR before the City acquired the system.
Bullhead City Utilities believes fluctuating power through the aged wiring could have caused the pump to fail prematurely.
“It’s not something we can prove, but electric motors don’t do well with inconsistent power,” said Hinkle.