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Flowing well to be abandoned

Public safety, cost factors considered in Mukwa

By John Faucher

A flowing well located on County Trunk W near Manske Road in the town of Mukwa will be permanently shut down and abandoned due to public safety concerns and construction deficiencies.

The Waupaca County Highway Department and Department of Health and Human Services issued a joint press release last week announcing the closure.

The county made its decision after consulting with a licensed well driller and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

According to the press release, the well at this location has been in place for decades and is considered a “transient non-community” well. Subsequently it is required to meet WDNR well construction requirements.

The well has had a history of elevated arsenic levels since 2017. Follow up tests have measured levels at or near the Environmental Protection Agency’s health standard of 10 parts per billion.

This past winter, the well was damaged during a stretch of extreme cold weather, the press release said.

Piping above the ground was completely broken-off at some point during the cold stretch in late January and unsolicited repairs were made by an individual in the days following.

Construction deficiencies found

In July, Waupaca County Highway Commissioner Casey Beyersdorf told the Press Star work pertaining to public drinking water should only be performed by a licensed plumber for public safety reasons.

During the 2019 annual well inspection, multiple construction deficiencies were noted that required corrective actions.

The county contracted with a licensed well driller to assess the well for repairs.

Hintzke Well Drilling completed the assessment early last week.

Among other things, crews discovered the pipe had been broken off 12 feet below the surface.

The assessment determined that more extensive repairs and/or well replacement would be necessary to bring it into construction compliance.

“Based on the extensive work and potential coast to repair/replace the well, it has been determined to properly abandon the flowing well,” the press release said.

On Tuesday, Aug. 27, Jay Hintzke a licensed water well technician with Hintzke Well Drilling said, “The county likely took into consideration the well’s high arsenic levels in making their decision to forgo costly repairs.”

“Everyone would have loved to see it there for another 40 years. Had it tested clean, the county probably would have fixed it,” Hintzke said.

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