Drilling underway at rodeo grounds

The City of Williams latest effort to drill for water is easily visible with United Drilling’s rig towering over the rodeo grounds.

Ken Edes, Williams mayor, utilized a Landsat map to explain why the city opted to drill at this site. The map shows fault lines intersecting at the rodeo grounds.

"The U.S. Geological study, done several years ago, identified potential fault lines around the community," Edes said. "Both Dogtown No. 1 and No. 2 were located on major fault lines.

"There appears to be an intersection of three faults near the city maintenance yard (at the rodeo grounds)."

Expense is another factor.

"Since we are drilling in town on our own property, any infrastructure costs will be negligible as compared to what a site outside of town would be," he said.

Despite a spate of wintry weather, drillers got underway on the new exploratory well Nov. 7. By Monday afternoon, drillers reached a depth of 2,670 feet at the rodeo grounds drilling site.

"Progress so far at the rodeo grounds has been excellent," said Patch Karr, drilling consultant. "We’ve lost circulation only once and regained it by 2:30 p.m. Monday.

"Since we hit cinders near the top, this has been the only problem. The hole condition is good."

Karr’s drilling reports indicates drillers lost circulation late Sunday night at a depth of 2,491 feet but regained full circulation by 2:30 p.m. Monday.

They were also plagued by cinders falling into the hole the first day of drilling, which slowed their progress to about a foot per hour. Once they cemented the hole, drilling has progressed more smoothly.

United Drilling’s crew from Roswell, N.M. is on site 24 hours a day. So far they have drilled through a layer of basalt cinders, limestone and Coconino sandstone and, as of Monday, were in the Supai formation.

At last Thursday’s Williams City Council meeting, Dennis Dalbeck, city manager, said recent snow has slightly recharged local reservoirs.

"The 12 or so inches of snow, which fell Oct. 27 raised our raw water in storage from 6 to 7 percent," he said.

On July 27, city council awarded United Drilling a $972,000 contract to drill and develop Dogtown Well No. 2. United’s bid also includes $200,000 to cover contingency items related to lost circulation and other borehole problems.

They initially drilled Dogtown Well No. 2, located on city-owned land one mile west of the Dogtown Well No. 1, which currently produces about 40 percent of Williams water supply.

United Drilling reached a depth of about 3,900 feet on Dogtown No. 2 but hit only minimal water.

In May, Williams voters passed a $3 million bond for water exploration. Dogtown No. 2 cost the city approximately $1.5 million.

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