As a mountain biker this has been a terrific summer to ride the trails, they’ve been very dry and fast. But as a City Manager I did start to worry about the impact of the below normal rainfall on our water supply since water restrictions are never a good thing. As is often the case however, the City’s water plant staff have planned for these sorts of contingencies and have taken steps to keep the taps flowing even under near draught conditions. My job is to worry about these sorts of things, but it sure is nice to find out that thanks to the water plant staff, the City’s water supply is in good hands.
Last week I asked the water plant manager if I should be worrying about the low levels of rainfall and our water supply. Here’s his reply:
We took some running and static levels this morning as we do every Monday. Our levels have been average for this time of year because we have been using artificial recharge in non-peak hours. Our main monitor well or old production well #9 had a static level of 21.5 feet. This compares to a level that was down 28.8 feet at this time last year.
Number 10 well had a static level this morning of 22.3 feet, which is also excellent. Number 11 well had a running level of 39.7 feet, which is normal. Number 12 well had a static level of 27.6 feet which is better than the 30 foot static level of a year ago. The only well level that is down is #13 because it is a rock well with no artificial recharge. It had a running level today of 107 feet compared with just over 100 feet at this time last year.”
I followed-up by asking what well levels should keep me up at night worrying, and again here’s Steve’s response:
We are very concerned when static levels at #9 well approach 35′. In September of 2000 the static level of #9 well was 38.5′. We were holding our breath. We are actively looking for a secondary water source. Right now I have Ohio Drilling looking at records for the “original” Plum Creek wellfield which was in the park to the southeast of the old water plant and dates back to the 1870’s.
I’m in touch with Floyd-Brown and Associates about a study they did in the early 1960’s about a water source in Fred Fuller Park, by the ballfields. We have also looked into reopening a couple wells in the old wellfield at 1220 Mogadore Rd. This is not too promising though because we don’t have the 300′ sanitary radius now required by the EPA. Gene and I will keep you informed.”
As a former manager of a surface water (river water) plant in Tennesee, I was not as familiar with the science of well field management, but based on Steve’s comments, the use of recharge basins are critical to keeping water levels up in low flow conditions. Here was Steve’s comments on how the recharge basins work:
We have a huge basin built next the wells. It has a porous gravel bottom so that when it is filled with water, it provides recharge for the wells as water perculates into the water table. The basin is filled by pumping water from the adjacent Breakneck Creek into the basin. I’ll send you a couple of pictures interoffice.”
So raise your water cup and toast to Steve and all the employees in the City’s water department for worrying on our behalf so all we have to do is enjoy the fruits of their labor.