Clallam County gets $356,864 bid to drill test well near Carlsborg

Clallam County has received a $356,864 bid to drill a 900-foot-deep test well north of Carlsborg, commissioners heard Monday, Aug. 19.

Tacoma Pump and Drilling Co. submitted the lowest of two bids that the county received for a project that will define the groundwater resources available in deep aquifers northwest of Sequim, Clallam County Hydrologist Carol Creasey said.

Commissioners are expected to award a contract to Graham-based Tacoma Pump and Drilling on Aug. 27.

Drilling the well is a “major requirement” for helping the Clallam County Public Utility District obtain state Department of Ecology approval for a water right application for the Carlsborg Urban Growth Area, Creasey said.

More water is needed for the unincorporated hamlet west of Sequim to expand.

The project consists of drilling a test well using mud rotary drilling methods. Depending on the capacity in the deep aquifer, the 8-inch well could be used for production, Creasey said.

A county consultant overseeing the project determined that Tacoma Pump and Drilling and Schneider Water Services of St. Paul, Ore., which bid $452,115 for the project, were each well qualified, Creasey said.

“It looks like we got a couple of decent bids,” Commissioner Mark Ozias said in a work session on Aug. 19.

“And it sounds like one can begin even earlier, and pretty quickly,” Commissioner Randy Johnson added.

Tacoma Pump and Drilling Co. is available to begin drilling as soon as mid September, Creasey said. The soonest Schneider Water Services could begin is January 2020, Creasey said.

The well site is northeast of the intersection of Carlsborg Road and Old Olympic Highway.

“We basically need to drill this deep well to examine the third and fourth aquifer,” Creasey told commissioners.

“The deeper we go, if we have high enough capacity, then, from that aquifer — hopefully the fourth — we will have less mitigation to deal with. So that’s the main goal.”

Ecology requires mitigation for new water rights in parts of Water Resource Inventory Area 18, including the Carlsborg area.

The low bid was about $150,000 higher than the original estimate, Creasey said.

“There’s just such a demand,” Creasey said of the bidding climate.

“Construction is going gangbusters. There’s such a demand that they can charge more.”

The second phase of the project includes a report to the state Department of Ecology, which will make a final determination on mitigation requirements, Creasey said.

Creasey said the total project cost would likely exceed the budgeted $500,000.

“My estimate right now is that we can probably do the drilling with what we have, but we won’t have enough money to do the second phase, the report with the record of examination and the mitigation,” Creasey said.

The drilling portion of the project will take up to 100 days to complete, according to the proposed contract.

“It’s a very involved process,” Creasey said.

“It’s going to take a while. And then, after that, there’s a pump test that has to be performed, a 72- to 76-hour pump test so that we know what the capacity of the aquifer is, how many gallons per minute can we get out of that.

“That will help us determine the size of the pump that will go into the well,” Creasey added.

The test pump will have a capacity of about 400 gallons per second, according to the proposed professional services agreement.

A 20-inch well that was drilled in 1974 has a pump with a 750-gallon-per-minute capacity, Creasey said.

Johnson requested from staff new cost estimates for the Carlsborg well project when they become available.

County commissioners are planning a joint meeting with Clallam County PUD commissioners to discuss the well project and Carlsborg water rights.

“In the meantime, this is really, really excellent progress,” Ozias said.

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