Weather Forecast


Wells' recharge slows

WORTHINGTON — Checking well water levels a day earlier than normal due to the Independence Day holiday, Worthington Public Utilities discovered Thursday that three of the city’s seven wells in the Bella Well Field actually had water level declines over the past week.

Well 26, the well in which WPU uses as a benchmark, remained at the same level as a week ago, which was just inches over the 16-year average after a two-foot rise in the water level. The water level in Well 26 has gained 12 feet, 6 inches since the heavy rains of mid-June.

“The recharge after the big jump we had the week of June 16 didn’t last long,” said WPU General Manager Scott Hain, adding that he was both surprised and disappointed by the results of Thursday morning’s measurements.

“I was surprised last week, while all seven wells showed an increase, how small the increase was compared to the week before,” Hain added. “ I would have thought with that big increase we saw a couple of weeks ago that we’d be seeing fairly significant increases for the few weeks going forward.”

Of the seven wells in the Bella Wellfield, one gained seven inches of water over last week and another gained eight inches. Two wells remained unchanged, and the three wells that reported reductions in water levels had anywhere from a 3-inch to 5-inch loss.

Thursday’s results mean that the ban on non-essential watering within Worthington will remain in place.

“Seeing that trend go the other direction already, we won’t be lifting the non-essential ban for next week anyway,” Hain said.

Hain doesn’t know why the wells aren’t recharging faster, considering water in Lake Okabena, Lake Ocheda and Lake Bella continues to flow dams on each lake.

“It just might be taking a little longer (to reach the wells),” he said. “Maybe we’ll see things go the other direction again next week.”

Hain said despite the recent rises in water levels in the city’s wells, WPU continues to purchase as much water as it can get from the Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water system.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

(507) 376-7330