Stage 4 Restrictions: City of Petrolia working to resolve town’s water woes

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City of Petrolia employees Art Perry and Aaron Skinner, and Mayor Bill Holmberg unscrew joints of pipe while pulling one of the city’s 12 water wells Monday afternoon.

By Matt Kelton
Pioneer Sentinel

With the city in Stage 4 of its drought contingency plan, Petrolia Mayor Bill Holmberg is urging residents to conserve water.

Holmberg, in his first term as mayor following the May election, was informed of low lake levels Sunday, and after meeting with city staff enacted Stage 4 of the plan, which calls for harsh water restrictions.

With the restrictions in place, residents of Petrolia are not allowed outdoor watering of any kind, they cannot fill swimming pools and the city will not sale water in bulk.

“We did this so we would have water for the citizens and for fires,” sad Holmberg. “Hopefully, it is only temporary,” he later added.

He said the city’s main concern is that people have water to bath and to cook with.

The city of Petrolia water supply is a mix of surface water, supplied by the city lake, and well water.

The city reservoir is 14-feet low, leaving the city with approximately four feet of usable water.

Holmberg said the city has a plan in place to pump water from another city-owned lake into the reservoir. Holmberg said he was not certain of the distance between the lakes, but believed it is approximately 150 feet.

But before the water can be pumped, the city has to come up with something to move the water through. The city owns a pump with a 4-inch outlet, but does not have the hose or piping to match. Two-inch hose is available, but no 2-inch pump.

Adding to the city’s troubles, the extreme drought conditions suffered this summer and last have caused the water table to drop, causing submersible pumps used to pull water from city wells to fail.

The city has 12 wells in all, seven located off of FM 171 between Charlie and Byers, and five more on the opposite side of the Wichita River. Well depth averages 40-60 feet.

On Monday, two of the pumps were down, and had to be pulled and repairs by a city crew.

“We’re doing the best we can with what we have,” said Holmberg.

Petrolia’s reservoir was constructed in 1939 and dredged in 2009, said Holmberg. The second lake was built sometime in the 1960s.

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Pioneer Sentinel

The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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