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Contractor Making Repairs To Wells In Salem

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The water woes continue for the city of Salem. Monday, two of the town's three wells quit working. Contractors are working to fix the problem, but residents are still being asked to conserve water.

Phyllis Tieszen and her husband Kenneth say they had no idea the residents of Salem were being asked to conserve water until Monday night.

Phyllis Tieszen said, "The two neighbors to the north of us were talking and said 'Hey, did you know the two water wells are down?' and I said, 'No, I didn't'.

Hours earlier, city officials in Salem noticed something was wrong with some of their main sources of water. Two of their three water wells quit working.    

Salem Finance Officer Lori Heumiller said, "About mid to late(Monday) morning, the computer started shouting alarms at us."

After calling in contractors from Minnesota, they've determined that both well pumps are burned up and the wiring in one of the pumps, if not both, needs to be replaced. Crews are also installing a gate valve on the line to one of the wells. They say it needs to be isolated so the pump can be pulled and replaced. In the meantime, one well will have to do. But it's not enough water for normal, everyday use.

Heumiller said, "No watering of lawns, gardens, washing you're car, things of that nature until we get the second well up and going."

The Tieszens say not being able to water their garden is just a small inconvenience compared to what they went through last year.

Phyllis Tieszen said, "It could be a lot worse. So this is minor compared to what it is when you can't have drinking water."

In June of last year, a computer malfunctioned, shutting down the town's entire water system. The city had no choice but to truck in water.

Heumiller said, "It's not a complete shut off of water like it was last year."

As the city figures out what's causing their wells to dry up, residents hope the trend doesn't continue.

Tieszen said, "If it happened three years in a row. I would start to get concerned I think, yes."

The well drilling company arrived in salem just after two o'clock Tuesday afternoon. They don't know how long it will take before the emergency water restriction is lifted.
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