Whether in rural spaces or within the city limits, we turn on the tap in our homes and we expect water to come out of the faucet. This is one of those conveniences we experience on a daily basis but we don’t think much about the source from where the water originated. For decades, R.C. Worst & Co. has been providing residential well pumps for consumers in Idaho and Eastern Washington. Those pumps have been bringing water to our homes, lawns and outbuildings from deep and shallow wells so that country folks in our area have at least one of the same conveniences as city dwellers. But what are the sources of water for cities and towns?
For some municipalities, massive quantities of water are drawn from far beneath the earth’s surface in the same fashion as their rural neighbors. It just happens on a much larger scale. Recently, R.C. Worst & Co. worked in cooperation with TML Construction of Hayden Lake, Idaho to install a new well pump for one of the fastest growing cities in America, Post Falls, Idaho. As Post Falls continues to grow and expand the reach of services for its residents, the demand for a reliable source of water also grows. And for that reason, the City of Post Falls put together a team of professionals in order to get water out of a recently drilled well.
There were other key players, in addition to TML Construction and R.C. Worst & Co., including Michelle Johnson of JUB Engineering. Michelle’s role as engineer also included providing project overview. JUB Engineers included on their team AEI Engineering (electrical and controls design) and Element Architecture (architectural design) to design the new well and well house to replace two aging wells. The project included abandonment of two City wells and construction of a new 20-inch diameter well and well house to house the pump and electrical equipment.
The scope of the project, specific to pump equipment, was significant. It is difficult for most of us to visualize what it must take, in the way of equipment and design to pull off a project such as this one for the City of Post Falls. For example, imagine 12” diameter steel column pipe nearly the length of a football field suspended vertically inside of a 356’ deep 20” diameter well. The 16” Peerless pump that was installed for this project is powered by a 400 horsepower motor at the surface. As a point of reference, R.C. Worst & Co. sells hundreds of residential well pumps a year that average 1 horsepower in size. The question is then begged, “How does all of that horsepower equate to actual water production?” As a typical residential well pump produces 10 gallons of water per minute (GPM), the Post Falls well will produce 3,000 GPM or 4.32 million gallons per day. To put that into perspective, this well will produce enough water to fill 6.5 Olympic size swimming pools every day.
Most of us simply don’t know how much equipment it takes to supply a project like the City of Post Falls pump replacement project. The actual list of materials to accomplish the task, including the column pipe, pump, motor and shaft, weigh in at over 24,000 pounds. The shaft, a significant contributor to the overall mass, is a 1-15/16” solid stainless steel shaft coupled in 10’ lengths. The exacting process of coupling the lengths of stainless steel shaft allows the overall 280’ long shaft to turn precisely and without vibration or wobble.
Where does a city like Post Falls tap into to find that quantity of potable, quality water? Like several large source water producers and hundreds of residential water consumers, residents of North Idaho are very lucky to have lie beneath them one of the largest and most pristine aquifers, the Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer. This aquifer is a deposit largely made up of sand, gravel, cobbles, and boulders. It extends south from the Bonner-Kootenai County boundary at the south end of Lake Pend Oreille toward the cities of Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls and west to the Idaho-Washington state line. The aquifer extends into Washington and becomes part of the larger Rathdrum-Spokane Aquifer.
Water recharges the Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer through precipitation, runoff from the surrounding upland areas, and leakage from surrounding lakes. The water table is at an elevation of about 2,060 feet near Lake Pend Oreille and about 1,980 feet at the Idaho-Washington state line. The larger Rathdrum-Spokane Aquifer supplies drinking water to approximately 100,000 people in Kootenai County, Idaho and another 400,000 people in Spokane County, Washington.
R.C. Worst & Co. has a long and storied history of participating in projects such as the City of Post Falls well pump job. In fact, it was R.C. Worst & Co. that provided the same type of materials and labor in 2004 for the replacement of two, deep well pumps for Post Falls working cooperatively, once again, with TML Construction. It has been the longstanding expertise, knowledge base and superior customer service that have contractors such as TML Construction and municipalities like Post Falls always looking to R.C. Worst & Co. for their guidance and participation to assist in critical projects such as these.