CRESTVIEW — Expected residential growth in northwest Crestview is leading the city’s two water utilities to launch water drilling projects within a few miles, just months of each other.


CRESTVIEW — Expected residential growth in northwest Crestview is leading the city’s two water utilities to launch water drilling projects within a few miles, just months of each other.



For the last two weeks, motorists rounding Blueberry Curve north of Crestview have noticed a newly erected derrick in front of Victorious Life Worship Center near the State Road 85-Lake Silver Road intersection.



The derrick — topped by an American flag waving in the breeze — marks the spot where Auburn Water System officials hope to drill the utility’s eighth well.



“It will just be a well and a well house; no tank,” Auburn Water General Manager Doug Sims said.



The Crestview City Council at its Jan. 14 meeting also approved a contract to begin drilling a water well on Old Bethel Road, to be located on city-owned property across the street from the historic Old Bethel Cemetery. Drilling should start within a month.



Bob Baker, account manager and geologist for Layne Christensen’s Pensacola office, said the worldwide water management firm has started preliminary work at the Blueberry Curve site.



“At this point, it’s simply a test well,” he said.



“They’re going to be sure the water we’re going to get is adequate in both quantity and quality before we do the permanent well,” Sims said.



Auburn’s water network is designed so wells and tanks can supplement each other if one fails due to a storm or mechanical problems. That helps assure customers won’t be without water in the affected area, Sims said.



“All of our wells and tanks are grouped together,” he said. “This one is being put in place to make sure we have adequate capacity in the future, but also if we have a well go down, it will still supply capacity. It’s serving a dual purpose.”



During Hurricane Ivan, although many north Crestview neighborhoods lacked electricity for a week or more, Auburn Water’s system did not fail, due in part to this built-in redundancy, Sims said.



The new well would be more likely to keep working, even during an electricity outage.



“It will have a natural gas generator,” Sims said. “All our other generators are diesel. In an emergency, diesel can be hard to get. In an emergency, we will be assured of a better supply of external power should we need it.”



If the quantity and quality of water found during the test well digging meets the utility’s standards, he expects the permanent well to be online within six months. The well should produce 750 gallons of water a minute, Sims said.



“We’re really hoping this well will come out just fine and we can get it online soon,” he said.



“It will be good to know we have that extra capacity online and the natural gas generator to back it up.”



Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or brianh@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.