The past week, the town of Cascade began drilling a new well to address the dire water shortages which plagued the community last summer.
The well, dubbed ‘Madison 3’, will be the fourth active well pumping water into Cascade. When completed, it will serve as the primary source of water alternating with the ‘Madison 2’ well.
The two other wells, named, ‘Springs Well’, and ‘Madison 1’ are unable to pump gallons of water at the efficient, stable rate Cascade, and its surrounding rural country needs. The optimal rate is 300 gallons per minute pumped. These wells operate around 15 gallons per minute.
With only one working well, Cascade didn’t have an adequate backup should things falter with ‘Madison 2’, as Public Works Director Joe Voss was well aware.
“We were at the point where we were going to have to go on restriction. We were running right on the bitter edge. We couldn’t afford a hiccup,” he says. “We didn’t really have a backup at that point.”
Now thanks to generous funding and grants, the new well will hopefully provide a healthy source of freshwater, alongside a reliable backup tank. The combined power of two wells operating at full power should help to prevent future droughts in the community, like the one faced in 2022.
Funds were secured through a combination of money put forward by Cascade, ARPA emergency relief funds, and two State Revolving Funds, one of which was forgiven. Without these grants and funds, Cascade would have never been able to install the brand new, $1.2 million well.
“All the funding agencies that are involved, we couldn’t do this without them. I think our rates are going to go up 19 cents on a $1.2 million well,” says Voss.
The well is being constructed by Great West Engineering, a company out of Helena. They anticipate a successful project.
“Overall, things are going well. You know, we’re drilling. We want a nice straight hole and it’s going to be a deep hole, probably up to 2500 feet. We’re just over seven or around 700 feet right now. I think it’s going slow, but that’s okay. We’ve got to go slow and make a nice straight hole,” says Bruce Lauerman, the Senior Hydrogeologist with the company.
He says it shouldn’t take too much longer to complete drilling.
“We expect maybe it could take another week or ten days. Just see how it goes. You never want to try to predict too far in advance,” says Lauerman.