Century’s Water Well Supplying Prison Suffers ‘Catastrophic’ Failure

August 31, 2022

The Town of Century water well that serves the Century Correctional Institution has suffered catastrophic failure, according to Mayor Ben Boutwell, focing the town to switch to a backup plan that has water flowing to the facility on Tedder Road.

“It’s just catastrophic. I mean it just failed,” Boutwell said of the town’s well. “But there is water going to the prison.”

The water is flowing through a permanent interconnect from Central Water Works to the Century water system that was completed in late May 2020 to provide a dependable water supply to the prison. The interconnect was installed after the town’s water well that was the sole water supply for the prison suffered a repairable failure in early May 2020. That forced the town to use two-inch fire hoses from a Central Water Works fire hydrant on the south side of Tedder Road to the prison on the north side of the road until a permanent solution was in place and the well was repaired.

The current well failure, according to the town, is much more severe. A shaft reportedly shattered into a dozen or more pieces and fell to the bottom of the well.

The backup water supply from Century Water Works has cost the town $17,000 so far, but the time period for that bill was not immediately known during a council workshop Tuesday night. Because the backup water supply is so expensive, the town is looking at options to restore their own water supply to the prison.

There are two other wells on Century’s water system, but neither can currently supply water to the prison due to elevation. The entire town is currently running off just one of those wells, because one, known as Well No. 2, has been out of  service for around two years.

“What we’re doing is we’re bringing Well No. 2 back on, and we’re doing our sampling for it,” he said. The well must first pass bacteriological testing before the water can be used. “We have a booster pump that goes up Tedder Road to the prison. So that’s going to be our new backup. “We have Central until we can get our system up and running like we’re working out tails off to do.”

The mayor said he expects the bacteriological sampling will be done by September 9.

“Then we’ll be good to go until we find out where we are going to find $500,000 for a new well, or we find $60,000 for a new temporary well.”

Century Water Department Supervisor Heath Burkett said Tuesday night that the estimated $60,000 temporary well equipment could be a very short term solution that he’s been told might last anywhere from two months to two years.

Pictured: The Town of Century’s water tower at the Century Correctional Institution. NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.


25 Responses to “Century’s Water Well Supplying Prison Suffers ‘Catastrophic’ Failure”

  1. Lee on September 1st, 2022 2:00 pm

    Why would anyone move to an area with NO jobs? If there are no jobs, you don’t need stores or restaurants, and you end up with towns that are just skeletons. It’s happened all over the country, not just in our little corner of the world.

  2. Ruffner Brothers on August 31st, 2022 9:28 pm

    Can we all admit Century is not a real town…?

    The things that happen there are almost beyond comprehension.

    Should be the location for a reality show…

  3. SHO-NUFF on August 31st, 2022 7:08 pm

    Century correctional facility is a state run prison, not a private for profit business.
    I am surprised the state depends on a small city owned water and sewer system to supply the prison, especially with the track record and history of both utilities being far from dependable and mismanaged.

    If the prison inmate population is rowdy now, wait until they cant shower or flush a toilet.

    The town of Century needs to dissolve, period.
    A lot of good intentions by many people trying to make it once again what it once was, and a proud place to call home.
    The town existed and thrived almost 100 years ago now because of the Sawmill that employed many, supported local businesses and most important created a tax base.
    There are many once thriving ghost towns all over Florida and Alabama that depended on sawmills to survive. The trees were gone and the sawmill went also.
    Alger-Sullivan is gone. It will not come back, so stop hanging on to its history.

    The only reason Century is not a ghost town is its location. Its on the main road leading into Florida from I-65.with hundreds of thousands of people driving right through the middle of it.
    The potential to make it a welcome station into northwest Florida is huge. Northwest Florida as a destination is growing daily but it takes vision and money to get people to stop.
    I drive down Hwy 29 from Pensacola several times a year and can’t believe the lack of curb appeal in Century.
    If I need to stop for gas I wait until I cross the bridge into Flomaton and its not much better there either.

    Century, with the right folks in charge could become a boutique community with shops and restaurants. A destination to stop at on the way to the Gulf coast beaches.
    If in doubt, get off at the Foley exit and head down Hwy. 59 towards Gulf Shores.
    Foley was once a sleepy little town, go look at it now. Jobs and money are everywhere.
    Someone needs to get onboard with a vision and a staff that can see the potential or it will never change,

  4. Century on August 31st, 2022 5:22 pm

    I guess Every one water bill will be higher

  5. Nick on August 31st, 2022 3:46 pm

    Disband the Century “government” and let Escambia County solve these issues.

  6. Jim Stanton on August 31st, 2022 2:22 pm

    So, until September 9, the entire town of Century is just one lightning strike away from having no water or having to depend on Central Water Works for water. Sounds like the entire town council needs to be fired for letting the number two well be down for two years. Very poor town management, water is a basic necessity, but the present town council seems to not care about that by not working to get the number two well back up and running.

  7. Wayne on August 31st, 2022 12:55 pm

    It took decades for Century to get where its at today.
    Its not ever going to get better next week,next month,next year or next decade.
    Its decades of financial issues, of mis governance passed down from the old buddy system.
    You are doing the same thing over and over and over again expecting a better outcome.
    Lack of education and accountability flourish in this town.
    They just will never understand the end is almost near.
    Thats really sad for us residents.
    NO ONE is qualified by anything but being voted it.
    That doesn’t make ANYONE qualified.
    NO ONE is as we dont attract businesses or life people want to grow in.
    The only thing keeping the town going is Century Prison.
    Unless you want a job at Whataburger so you can save on a 401k and have a retirement…and I might add stock options…NOT!
    THAT PRISON will survive by investment and law.
    The town is history.
    I wish it could survive for the people who are at the ignorance being in the township.
    Its end is immediate and precise.
    So sad and shameful.

  8. Rodney Burkett on August 31st, 2022 12:25 pm

    What is amazing here is no one cares until it gets to this point. This problem is due to the nickel and dime way people want the town run. Nobody wants to pay what is required to properly operate and provide essential services for the citizens. So what does politically motivated people do, they keep it on the cheap. Which always results in disaster.
    We can talk about the why all day long, but that doesn’t make a solution. You know why Central Water Works is in a position to supply water to the prison? Planning! Over 25 years ago Central Water Works personell developed a plan for not only it’s current and future residential customers, but also potential residential and commercial and possible industrial customers. With the cooperative efforts of the then sitting Board of Directors, County Commissioner, State Representatives, CWW planned and secured funds to ready themselves for the future. One of the main things they done was set a rate structure that supported these actions gradually and responsibly, which help prevent surprises. Central Water Works is reaping those benefits today.

  9. RaD on August 31st, 2022 12:14 pm

    What profit does the City make annually providing water to the prison. If it is not at least $50,000/year, it is not worth spending the $500,000. Sell the contract to Central Water Works for whatever you can get out of them and abandon the well.

  10. did you know on August 31st, 2022 11:53 am

    sam, Century CI is in Central Water Works franchise district. But The Town Administration at the time Century CI was built did some underhanded dealing with the State and not only got the water, they also got the prison named for the town (most State Correctional Institutions are named for the county they are in. The Town’s Administration at the time saw a money maker and job supplier and went with it.. The town once again had money and spent it, but they did not put any away for the up keep on the water wells. Water wells should have a work over about every 10 to 15 years, but they have not. Now the town is paying for the mismanagement.
    Century CI is in no way at fault for any of this and your comment to move the prison was just plain ignorant!

  11. M in Bratt on August 31st, 2022 11:49 am

    Simple Solution is to just hook the prison up to Central Water since Century has proven that they cannot supply dependable water to the prison. The ones that say we need the TOC because they provide dependable water and sewer should see that they cannot. They have a well that has been out of service for years without any effort to fix it. That would leave the citizens without water if the one operating well fails. This is but one more example of why the TOC needs to be shut down and the few services they provide should be taken over by ECUA and the County. But we can always do one thing in circumstances like this; Crank the clown car, it’s time for a ride.

  12. Citizen on August 31st, 2022 11:45 am

    So we have 3 wells and 2 are out. Pretty dire.

  13. Citizen on August 31st, 2022 11:41 am

    Perhaps the prison should get their water from Central water works permanently and the town makes sure they get well #2 in order, as they said they were doing, and make sure this money was spent appropriately.


    From last year, almost to the date.

    Running water is important.

  14. Mangler on August 31st, 2022 11:18 am

    Oh Well!

  15. IMHO on August 31st, 2022 11:03 am

    So, what happens when the last operating well fails? Y’all better start stocking up on bottled water!

  16. David on August 31st, 2022 11:01 am

    An example of total mis-management on the part of all involved. Disband the whole bunch.

  17. Chris on August 31st, 2022 10:51 am

    The town is failing. Pull the plug.

  18. SueB on August 31st, 2022 10:07 am

    Does Century have an emergency plan? People of Century need more outside help to show them how to run a town, set up a budget, what work needs to be done first vs spending money to refinish floors. Also, people of Century need to contact their County Commissioner, Fla Governor & Fla Senator to help “clean house”.

  19. tg on August 31st, 2022 9:22 am

    Century has no idea what a Emergency Fund is.

  20. It happens on August 31st, 2022 9:22 am

    Cannot criticize Century on this one. No way to predict such an event.

    As for “move the prison”:

    1. Century fought hard to get the prison decades ago. Why should all of that effort be dismissed because a water well fails?
    2. What happens to the employees and income the prison provides?

  21. reired on August 31st, 2022 8:57 am

    What about all the extra money left over in the budget? No kick backs this year.

    WHY DON’T THEY HAVE A DISASTER FUND?????????????????????

  22. sam on August 31st, 2022 8:24 am

    here we go again. Move the prison.

  23. fisherman on August 31st, 2022 8:05 am

    Take the money for refinishing the floor and put it toward the well.That’s a start.

  24. SW on August 31st, 2022 7:08 am

    The town is failed. Come on, just admit it. Quit trying to revive the dead.

  25. Tiger on August 31st, 2022 5:12 am

    Why does Century have so many problems?

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