Mayor Chris Beutler said the new well recently installed in the Platte River wellfield will help ensure that residents will have a reliable water supply, even during periods of drought. The City's third "horizontal" well, which became operational in July, is one of the 10 largest in the nation. It produces more than 20 million gallons per day (MGD) during normal river conditions. Under the same conditions, the City's 40 "vertical" wells together produce about 75 MGD. The two existing horizontal wells built in 1990 together produce about 35 MGD.
"Planning for this new well actually began after the 2002 drought, but we renewed efforts after the 2012 drought and established an aggressive schedule," Mayor Beutler said. "I want to congratulate the Lincoln Water System (LWS) and its private contractors who worked through many environmental, permitting and construction challenges to provide this important new water resource."
The horizontal well consists of a concrete silo 16 feet in diameter sunk about 70 feet into the ground to access the most productive layer in the aquifer. From the silo, well screens are projected horizontally below the river. Its construction allows the well to provide at least 10 MGD during extended drought conditions with low river flows.
A well house above the silo houses pumping equipment, piping and associated electrical gear. The three pumps discharge to an existing water collection system for treatment at the Platte River Water Treatment Plant.
In early 2013, a team of contractors, including Black & Veatch Corporation, Olsson Associates and Benesch, was selected to design the well, pumping facilities, pipeline and site access. Construction began in July 2013, with Layne Christensen Company completing the silo and well screen portion of the project. Garney Companies completed the well house structure and associated pipeline in July 2014.
The cost of the project was about $10.7 million and was funded with water revenue funds. A fourth horizontal well is scheduled to be completed in 2018. More information about Lincoln Water System is available at water.lincoln.ne.gov.