“Where the kitchen sink was going to go, that’s where we pulled back the floor, and we felt the breeze, and looked down, and there it was,” she said.
Turns out, the large, 25-foot-deep hole was a well that is estimated to have been built in the early 1800s. Her house was built above the well in about 1930, perhaps so the well could serve as an indoor water source.
Bley, 32, is a registered nurse working in critical care at Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital. Someday, she hopes to have a large garden on the property where she can offer workshops on things like urban gardening and hydroponics. She dreamed of letting visitors see the well that she hoped would provide the water for the garden.
She had the water tested, and it was pollution-free.
“The well was kind of a neat feature if we were able to use it, but the city said no, they wanted it filled in,” Bley said.
Kimberly Bley and Randy Slater stand in front of a house at 25 South C Street in Hamilton. Bley, who recently purchased the house, found a well nearly 25 feet deep underneath the kitchen floor while renovating. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Actually, said city Building Director Ken Rivera, the city had no choice. Despite the clean water, the state was concerned about possible water contamination, because, “the state is aware of instances where a kid ends up drinking water from a hose and getting sick,” he said.
“The state was definitely making it abundantly clear to the health department here that it had to be sealed in a certain way,” Rivera said. “It’s basically a state regulation that they’re expecting the local jurisdiction — in this case, our health department — to enforce for them.”
“It’s going to cost around $6,000 to fill it, so that means it’s going to be shaved off of other projects, and that’s going to be the kitchen,” Bley said. “But that’s OK, you just do what you can, and move on. But the kitchen’s gutted right now, so it’s difficult.”
Kimberly Bley, who recently purchased a house at 25 South C Street in Hamilton, found a well nearly 25 feet deep underneath the kitchen floor while renovating. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
That’s especially unfortunate because she uses the kitchen for a side business she has, making lotions. But Bley said he’s still having fun in the home.
“It was a little more enjoyable before the well situation, but I’m getting there,” she said. “Just a hiccup.”
Bley called it “a bit of a disappointment” to have to fill in the well. But as she awaited the building permit needed to fill in the well, she was looking forward to using the kitchen again.
Aside from the $6,000 cost, and the kitchen she temporarily was unable to use, when she thinks back on the home’s unexpected water feature, she’ll remember “the excitement of when we first found it, and thought it was going to become something really neat” that Hamilton people would get to see.
“I guess we dreamed kind of high, at first,” she said.