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Royal City waives bid process for pump repairs

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | June 9, 2021 1:00 AM

ROYAL CITY — Royal City Mayor Kent Anderson was authorized to approve a contract to start repairs on one of the city’s two wells without going through the competitive bid process, after Royal City City Council members passed an ordinance June 1 declaring the well’s failure to be an emergency and waiving the process.

Public works director John Lasen said the well failed May 25. The pump runs, but it’s not pumping any water, he said.

City officials want to start repairs quickly, and competitive bids would slow down the process, finance director Shilo Christensen said. As a result, city officials asked the council to waive the bid process.

Christensen said in an interview the failing well is one of the two wells supplying drinking water to the city. The second well is still working and there is a backup well, Christensen said, but if the second well failed and the backup had to be used, city residents would be required to boil water.

Lasen said the problem may be a broken pump shaft, but the apparatus will have to be removed from the well before city officials know for sure. He estimated removing the pump will cost about $18,000.

During the council meeting, Anderson asked about the scope of work, if repairs could be made to the existing equipment or if it needed replacing.

Lasen said he described the problem to people who drill and maintain wells, and they gave a diagnosis based on that. But the only way to know what’s wrong, and how much it will cost to fix, is to remove and inspect the pump, he said.