A trickle of water from the tainted Hanley Avenue well is back in the pipes in the northwest part of the city.
The city restarted the well about two weeks ago, after the motor on the Atlas Road well developed problems. The Hanley well, however, still is not the primary source of water for the roughly 1,700 customers who live west of Highway 95, north of Kathleen Avenue and east of Atlas Road and used to depend solely on the well for their water needs.
The city still is using a booster pump to bring in water from other city wells.
Last year, for example, the Hanley Avenue well was running about 22 hours a day. Currently, Hanley is pumping water a maximum of four hours a day.
If the weather turns hot and dry and people turn on their sprinklers, however, that could change.
“The more people use water up there, the more we will have to use the Hanley well,” said Jim Markley, Coeur d’Alene water superintendent.
The Hanley Avenue well was turned off in May, after city tests revealed levels of trichloroethylene (TCE) jumped from 2 parts per billion to 7 parts per billion. A subsequent test by the Panhandle Health District showed the TCE concentration at 8.26 parts per billion.
The well has to be capped permanently when the well shows more than 5 parts per billion of TCE for four successive quarters. TCE is a known carcinogen.
The Hanley well is extremely productive and has supplied all of the city’s winter water needs for four years. TCE contamination first appeared in the well’s water in 1992.
TCE levels here have never violated drinking water standards for four successive quarters, but the annual spring surge in TCE has grown each year. Private wells in the area had similar problems.
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