Bemidji Town & Country Club Online Newsletter - 07/13/07

Fellow members of BTCC.

I have an update on the saga of our golf course watering / well concern. I thought it would be best if I gave the membership as much information as possible so that everyone has a better understanding of the magnitude of the concern.

As most of you are aware, our water pump for the watering system at BTCC failed on Saturday, July 7, 2007. The symptom was the check valve for the pump which failed allowing sand and grit into the pump effectively destroying the pump. This same problem occurred in 1991, 1996 and again in 2004. A new pump was procured and installed with two check valves in series (added insurance against check valve failure). To our dismay, we kept sucking sand and small rocks from our well. The well was installed in 1985 and is a 12" steel casing. The well is a flowing well so there is constant flowage thru the casing even when we are not pumping water.

To find the root cause, we hired a company to analyze the well pipe casing with an underwater camera. To our dismay, they found a 3/4" hole at 62' and another smaller one at 81'. Most of the corrosion is at 62' to 65' where the pump head is located. The well casing has advanced stages of corrosion. The short life of the well casing is being attributed to the constant flow of water through the pipe.

This is a very serious problem, not having water available during the middle of July with the high temperatures returning in a few days. As a result, we are in the preservation mode of saving our greens and grass. Tom and his staff are hand watering greens and other stressed areas. To keep his people safe from flying golf balls while they are hand watering greens, we will be delaying the first tee time until 7:45 AM effective Sunday, July 15, 2007. This is temporary and will be in effect until our watering concern is fixed. Also, if we cannot keep up with the water requirements of the greens we might have to temporarily let them be a little longer as part of our preservation strategy.

Currently, we are having the old pump repaired and our well contractor has ordered a special built sleeve to install over the holes as a temporary fix. There is the possibility of having the old pump back before the sleeve. Therefore, depending upon the condition of our greens and grass we might hook up the old pump and run it 24 hours a day. The excess water would be diverted to ponds or rough sprinklers during golfing hours. This strategy was recommended since small rocks are currently jammed in the holes and constant pumping should keep them there. When we shut down the pumping operation the flowing well creates pressure inside the well pipe dislodging the rocks allowing more sand into the system on the next pumping cycle.

I hope everyone has a better understanding of our concern and can be more receptive of the actions we are taking to preserve the greens and grass at BTCC.

Gene R. Bakke
President BTCC