The CSD Board gave the green light to staff in a special meeting Monday night to begin drilling well No. 6 in the parking lot of the district office on Willow Lake Road.
General Manager Virgil Koehne asked for the meeting ahead of the regular CSD monthly meeting in order to facilitate putting the contractors in place as quickly as possible.
“My thinking was that I wanted to get it drilled before school starts because of traffic problems and the noise factor,” said Koehne. “So with that quick timeline, we needed the board’s approval to hire the drilling company and making sure the contractor was available.”
Although wells may be dug in a variety of locations, regardless of where the drilling takes place, the result is always the same – raw water that must be piped into a treatment plant. Putting a pipe under the ground and bringing it to one of Discovery Bay’s four treatment plants could be costly – approximately $50 to $100 per foot. In light of the expense, Koehne suggested drilling as close to a treatment plant as possible; in this case, the one at the district office.
Before the well site could be approved, however, a test – or monitoring – had to be dug to confirm the presence of a body of underground water. Town engineers did that late last year, striking an aquifer about 400 feet deep that yielded the desired 2,000 gallons per minute. Koehne estimates that drilling the permanent well so close to the existing treatment plant (therefore avoiding lengthy underground piping) will save the district as much as three quarters of million dollars.
Plans for the new water production well began nearly two years ago, following a malfunction at one of the town’s water production wells. When another well began showing similar signs of wear, Koehne decided it was time to get proactive.
“When we had not one, but two wells begin to choke up on us, I began to see that we as a district could be in trouble if we lose a well,” said Koehne. “So I started looking to build in a little safeguard, and this is it. This project will add a little more reliability to our drinking water.”
As well as a little more noise. Because of the danger of a well collapsing should drilling stop midway through the process, the work must be done day and night until the well is complete.
“It’s 30 inches in diameter and 400 feet deep,” said Koehne. “So once you start, you have to keep going. It will be noisy, but it will also be quick.” The work is expected to take approximately three days of around-the-clock drilling to complete.
CSD Board President Ray Tetreault said that the implementation of the new well is a much-needed addition to the water and wastewater side of the district.
“I was aware of the problem we had in the past with the wells, even though I wasn’t on the (CSD) board,” said Tetreault. “And at that point, I knew we needed to plan ahead. So this is all good and something that needs to be done.”