Headquartered in Fenton, Mo., Brotcke Well & Pump Inc., has been in business 20 years. Company president Paul Brotcke tells us, “We specialize in municipal and industrial well and pump maintenance and installation.”
The 25-employee firm runs three drilling rigs and four pump pulling units. Its not-so-secret weapon against well deterioration is its patented High Velocity Injection Procedure, which uses sustained injection pressures to force treatment chemicals to all areas of the well system and adjacent aquifer. Injection rates range from 100 gallons per minute to more than 4,000 gallons per minute. The specific blend of treatment chemicals is dependent on the ground water mineral analysis – the amounts of iron and manganese, hardness, alkalinity and pH all are major factors.
A project this past winter involved rehabbing four of the five wells used by the City of Collinsville, Ill., to deliver potable water to the city. “We’ve worked on and off there for the past 15 years,” Brotcke notes. “Primarily, what we’re dealing with there is mineral buildup in the pumps. We use a muriatic acid-based chemical to flush the pumps and remove the iron and manganese build-up from the pumps and column pipes. These are 1,000-gallon-a-minute pumps and eight-inch lines that bring the raw water into the treatment plant.” The wells vary in depth between 102 and 110 feet. The oldest well was installed in 1958, the newest in 1980.
Company vice president Tim Kelly further explains: “Along with the mineral build-up, there’s a biological buildup occurring within the pumps, so we did a three-step treatment process on the wells. The first thing we do is drop the well off-line – isolate the pump and well from being tied into the city’s system. The initial treatment step involves sodium hypochloride, which is introduced and surged for about four hours. We pump those chemicals down into the wells at velocities in the neighborhood of 15-, 16-hundred gallons a minute.” Then tests were run to confirm that step’s level of effectiveness in cleaning the pump, and that was the end of day one of the project.
“The next day,” Kelly continues, “the treatment process was repeated using a muriatic acid-based solution – it’s surged for four hours, neutralized and pumped to waste, and then the pump test performed. The third day, another sodium hypochloride treatment was performed.” That’s the three-day, three-stage process that was conducted at each of the four rehabbed wells on the project.
Effectiveness of the rehabilitation process is demonstrated by the test results on the first well to be treated. Prior to treatment, the well was moving 388 gallons per minute. After the first stage, it was up to 670 gallons per minute. The second stage boosted it to 902 gallons per minute, and after the third and final treatment, the well was producing 925 gallons per minute.
“We were out there for two weeks,” Brotcke notes. “And we’ll probably be back out there in about a year when the work is up for bid again. They do this every one to two years, depending on test results. Bid work represents maybe 10 percent to 15 percent of our projects. Of course dollar-wise, it’s a lot different because the bid jobs tend to be a lot larger.”
Brotcke Well & Pump offers a wide array of services, but in general terms, the company’s president offers, “Drilling and well construction would be approximately 30 percent of our volume. We do a lot of test drilling for environmental and geotechnical purposes – that’s probably about 15 percent, and the rest is the rehabilitation work, which often includes pump repair.”
Looking a ways down the road, Brotcke says, “I think our future expansion plans would include a deep-hole direct-rotary drill rig, but that’s on the back burner for right now.” Having observed the Brotcke operation, it’s safe to say when that eventually does happen, it will be done with flawless execution.