Water woes ail Country Club
JOE SEELIGSEBRING - After a Saturday without water, it would appear a series of unfortunate events has the residents of The Country Club of Sebring concerned about their potable water source — Country Club Utilities Inc.
Published: September 26, 2012
Published: September 26, 2012
The utility's new pump on their new well is down, literally.
The pump and motor fell down into its 1,200 foot shaft Saturday and they're back using a backup well and pump system, said Greg Harris, the utility president, who also is a county commissioner.
The utility serves roughly 400 water customers and about 395 wastewater customers.
"On March 30 we had a well collapse; the pump and motor burned up," Harris said Tuesday, giving his chronological account of when they went to a backup well.
On June 6, Harris sent out an email to residents who have email, stating they started drilling a new primary well.
"The drillers are estimating three-to-five weeks," he wrote; telling residents he appreciated their understanding and patience. "We are working hard to keep the water moved throughout the community to reduce the hydrogen sulfide (egg smell)."
On Sept. 4, Harris sent out another email blast telling residents their pump burned up overnight; "and we will be bringing on the new well this morning," he wrote on Sept. 5 at 9:57 a.m.
"Our backup system got hit by lightning," Harris said Tuesday. As promised the new well was brought online, but before the full water sampling tests could be completed.
He issued a precautionary boil water notice.
By 3:25 p.m., he sent out an email telling residents the Department of Environmental Protection suggested they do not boil the water or drink the water until a complete series of tests is completed. Showering and flushing toilets was OK.
By Sept. 12, he heard from their operator that reported the biological samples all cleared. They were just waiting for the water samples to come back to rule out any contaminants.
The water was cleared to drink on Friday afternoon, Sept. 21.
At 9 a.m. Saturday, he sent out another email blast telling residents what many already knew: There was no water.
He had just put a new $10,000 submersible pump and motor into the new $50,000 well.
"Everything on our side was good," Harris said Tuesday. "You can imagine our shock when we pulled all that out and there was no pump and motor on there.
"The brand new pump and motor were in the bottom of the well. It's hard for the homeowners to be without water."
They went back onto the backup well. Water was restored on Saturday night.
But now they have to send a camera down into the new well and see if they can latch onto the new pump and motor. Otherwise, they're going to have to dig a new well, again.
"I had nothing to do with either event," Harris said. "I have to rely on what they tell me."
In June 2011, Harris offered the system to the city of Sebring for $918,000. The city declined because it was still closing several other water projects.
"We're negotiating again," Harris said, adding that meant everything, water and sewer. "If I sell, I'm selling the whole thing. It really hit when my wife and daughter looked at me and asked, 'What are we going to do if you're not here?'"
Utilities Director Marty Roepstorff said Tuesday if the city was to buy the system it would have to run a 10-inch water pipe from Golf Hammock, on Hammock Road, and bring it about two miles to Country Club.
He estimated the cost would be just less than $500,000 to connect it up with the city's water system. The existing package wastewater treatment plant and system would run independently. Both systems would require upgrades.
Several residents acknowledged they were concerned with and tired of the situation, but did not wish to be quoted, except Norb Walz.
"Our water system needs serious attention," he said. "My gut feeling is our community association needs to take it over."
It needs an infusion of money to get it up to spec, he said.
"Right now, it's not up to spec, and if you have a problem you have no backup so you have no water," he said. "There are similar problems with the wastewater."
Still he felt the association should own both.
"I'm going to be pushing for that," he said.
He opposed the city buying it because he wouldn't want the community to be annexed into the city.
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