In a regularly scheduled work session Monday, members of the city council heard city water system operator Billy Baker detail the latest delays in bringing the Dawson Street well online.
“Everything is complete,” he said. “The pipe on the detention line, which detains the water until the chlorine content can drop to an appropriate level for consumption, is in and tested good. I have been running the well four or five hours a day testing the water. We’re just waiting for a service rep to calibrate the turbidity meter and chlorine analyzer.”
Baker explained that the turbidity meter analyzes the amount of dirt in the water and the chlorine analyzer adds disinfectant to the water.
The final installation is a Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) monitoring station that will actually call the person monitoring it to report trouble.
“We will be able to set limits on our water quality and if it fails — say the pump quits adding chlorine or a pipe breaks — SCADA will call us and tell us what is going on,” Baker said.
After discovering fecal coliform and E. coli in its water system on Jan. 17, the Kingston Water Department shut down the Dawson Street well, relying on the 97-year-old Railroad Street well as the sole source of water for the city. But the loss of the Dawson Street well dramatically affected the water level at Railroad Street.
“The Railroad Street well is just getting by,” Baker said, “Over Memorial Day weekend, the water level dropped from 74 feet to 94 feet. We have lost about 20 feet of water since January. We’re just sucking water out at about 90,000 to 100,000 gallons a day and that’s about the most it can handle.”
One final hurdle — getting the state to certify the well safe — may be the biggest.
“We’re waiting on the state to tell us what testing we need to do to get this well back online,” Baker said. “We’re kind of playing a waiting game.”
In other council business, Mayor Ron Casey said many residents were ignoring city codes regarding unkempt yards.
“We have a lot of people letting their lots and yards grow up — looks like they’re trying to make hayfields out of them — and we have had a good many complaints,” Casey said. “We’re going to have to start sending out letters from the code enforcement office telling people to cut their yards and clean up or we will be forced to take some action.”
Kingston City Council will meet next at city hall on Monday, June 10, at 7 p.m. for a regularly scheduled meeting.