July 2018

What action to take

The city contacted Don

Hellar with EBH engineering,

Pratt, Kansas. The first step was

to investigate Well No. 3 to

possibly return it to production.

Contractors tried cleaning the

well screen with both acid

solution and brushes and

inspected the screen by

lowering a camera inside the

casing three different times.

The various cleaning

procedures were not successful

in returning the well to a

reasonable pumping rate. Also,

a variable frequency drive

(VFD) was installed attempting

to reduce the pump rate to a

usable level but the well

continued to pump air.

Eventually it was decided to

ECWAG Program Overview

The Emergency Community Water

Assistance Grants (ECWAG) program

helps eligible rural communities

recover from or prepare for

emergencies that result in a decline in

capacity to provide safe, reliable

drinking water for households and

businesses. Grants up to $150,000 are

available for repairs to breaks or leaks

in existing water distribution lines, and

related maintenance. Grants up to

$500,000 are available for construction

of a new water source, intake and/or

treatment facility or waterline


To be eligible, projects must be

located in rural areas and towns with

10,000 or fewer people and with a

median household income less than

$62,883. Federally recognized Tribal

lands are also eligible. Eligible

applicants include most state and local

governmental entities, nonprofit

organizations and federally recognized

tribes. Privately owned wells are not

eligible. To check eligibility, please visit

the following website:


abandon the well due to the low water

level. The only real solution was to

locate another well by drilling deeper

in the aquifer. Funding such a project

would be a challenge. After some time,

the United States Department of

Agriculture, Rural Development,

(USDA-RD) was contacted for

funding assistance. Fortunately, for the

city, Rural Development has a grant

program that can be used as a result of

a natural disaster and the loss of the

water table at Plains constituted such a

disaster. The city worked with Dave

Barber in the Hays USDA-RD office

to obtain a grant through the

Emergency Community Water

Assistance Grants (ECWAG) program.

The application process to obtain an

ECWAG is an accelerated procedure

allowing funding to be awarded in a

more timely manner to deal with


Moving forward

With no hope of returning Well No.

3 to production, Hydro Resources,

Garden City, Kansas was contacted to

do test drilling. Two test holes were

drilled which, according to Dave

Ratzlaff, were very expensive because

of the depth. The first test well on the

The various cleaning

procedures were not

successful in returning

the well to a reasonable

pumping rate. 

This photo shows the well pump

discharge piping after installation.