The plan is a shock to members of KTAC and the Knightsen CSD, who were unaware of the plan until it was publicized last week. When connected, the new line could draw up to one million gallons of water per day from the Knightsen town well to supplement Oakley residents.
The Glenn Park well in Oakley off of Doyle Road needs to be supplemented for the growth taking place in that area. The district feels buying water from the Contra Costa Water District is too costly. The DWD believes that instead of drilling a new well or purchasing high-priced water from the CCWD, the water could be pulled from Knightsen's well.
The idea raises several questions and serious concerns.Back in the early '80s, Knightsen resident Pat Bello authored a request (with the help of Contra Costa County Health Department staff member Jim Blake) to drill the Knightsen Community Well, water meant for the Knightsen community. At that time, the State Water Resources grant for the Knightsen Community Well was to service 60 homes (Knightsen Community Water District, called M25, was run by Contra Costa County). Drinking water quality was poor in the downtown area and the new well solved the problem. The well was kept to a certain size to prevent rampant growth in Knightsen.
Contra Costa Senior Planner Eric Whan was asked for information on the M25 district well transfer to Diablo Water. Whan said he would see if any files on the transfer were still available. In a conversation with Yeraka, tapping into Knightsen's well would be a benefit to Knightsen. Yeraka stated that the fire department and the community would have a "live line" in both directions.
According to Bello, the pump flow of the well (again, intended for only 60 residents) is not up to standard for fire protection. Yeraka stated that when power is down, the "live line" would continue to produce water, an improvement over the current pump status which provides no backup generator.
Back in 1998, when water from the well was used to wash down the dust and prepare for the Centennial event, the well began spitting and coughing air after dispersing approximately 10,000 gallons of water. According to Yeraka, the Knightsen well can produce water for 1,000 homes or more. When asked why the well can produce water for 1,000 homes but not enough for local fire suppression, the answer was replacing the pump to pull more water faster.
Among Knightsen residents' concerns:
• How will residents' wells and water quality be affected by pulling one million gallons a day from the local aquifer?
• Will a "live line" be growth-inducing to a community set on a rural lifestyle?
• Will the district pay homeowners for new wells should the existing ones collapse or produce poor water quality?
• Will Knightsen residents eventually be forced to buy Diablo water?
Oakley residents on Doyle Road have been concerned for many of the same reasons. The Glenn Park Well can pump a few million gallons a day. Doyle Road resident Jack Shatting stated that when the Glenn Park Well was put in, DWD monitored and tested local wells in that area. According to Shatting, only one general meeting took place between residents and the water district. In that meeting DWD assured residents that their wells would not be affected. Shatting states that he has a record of water quality and depth for his personal well. He has placed DWD on notice should his well have any problems.