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Commissioners approve $250,415 for Ellicott well

In late November, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a contract with Layne Christensen Company for $250,414 to drill and equip a water well in Ellicott.John McCarty, director of the county transportation department, said the well will be used to fill water trucks that are used to dampen dust on El Paso County roads.Commissioner Douglas Bruce cited a letter from Tim Kunau of Kunau Drilling LLC in Calhan. Kunau addressed the letter to the county procurement and contracts department and asked why the department of transportation wrote specifications for a well that only a few drillers in the state could meet. None of the qualified drillers pays taxes in El Paso County, Kunau wrote.Bruce also asked McCarty if the approved amount is more than needed.McCarty justified the well’s cost and the specifications. The well would have a longer life span and lower maintenance costs if it is drilled according to the county’s specifications, which include reverse circulation drilling and a 10-inch casing.In his letter, Kunau said the county is permitted 2.5-acre feet of water per year. Kunau wrote, “If they had a 6-inch well producing 100 gallons per minute, they would take 5.66 days to use up their allotted amount of water for the year. I fail to see why they need a 10-inch cased well that will produce even more than 100 gallons per minute.”McCarty disagreed with Kunau concerning the water allowance. “We are adjudicated for 1.5-acre feet or about 500,000 gallons,” McCarty said.In response to the county’s approval, Kathy Hare, president of the Upper Black Squirrel Ground Water Management District, said the Ellicott well is the “most expensive well for watering roads I’ve ever heard of.”

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