Well tests under way at potential Crystal Geyser site in Orland

An engineering company that specializes in environmental and water issues began testing wells Tuesday on and near a proposed bottled-water company site in Orland. Full Story
Jim Brobeck

United States

#1 Aug 27, 2009
The pumping test is putting groundwater into a surface water irrigation conveyance canal for use on properties other than the overlying landowner. This violates California Water Law.
If this company is allowed to access our public groundwater system the door will be open to other bottled water businesses. The cumulative impacts from this and other groundwater development projects is degrading the balance of the system. The corporation and the agencies that are supposed to safeguard the public trust are failing to monitor impacts beyond the extreme locality while damage to the balance of the groundwater system occurs at more distant recharge locations located to the east on the up-gradient portion of the aquifer. The tests as designed are useless in identifying the long-term damage that draws down streams and existing well water levels.
Offering a few jobs and tax revenue is not a suitable exchange.
Concerned Citizen

Houston, TX

#2 Aug 27, 2009
The so-called aquifer-testing that is being done is so unprofessional, it is a silly joke! They are pumping the water out of the ground, and then using the water for local irrigation which obviously percolates right back down into the aquifer!

We need to test the aquifer to see if it can handle Crystal Geyser's draw down. The following test would be both fair and accurate. I propose an initial one year testing period during which the wells should be pumped continuously at 260 gpm, the pump rate proposed by Crystal Geyser.

During this year we would keep an eye on that pumped water, to make sure that it does not run back into the aquifer. The pumped water should be removed downstream, by pipe or concrete canal, away from the aquifer.

The way to determine how far downstream the test-pumped water must be removed is to first find out the depth of the drilled wells (not just the length of pipe), and then compare that with USGS elevation maps, and pipe the water downstream until it is at a lower elevation than the bottom of the wells. This would prevent the dumped water from re-entering the tested aquifer. That distance may well be several miles, depending on the depth of the wells and the gradient of the pipe.

If the test-pumped water were used for local irrigation, much of it would percolate back down into the aquifer, invalidating the test. If we let the water back into the aquifer, we wouldn't know the effects of pulling out the water in the first place.

Heavy rains would also make it difficult to determine the effects of Crystal Geyser's proposed water-harvesting. We should wait until April 1, 2010 to start the one year pump test, and test the water level every 2 weeks. If there is any drop in the water levels of the aquifer, we will need to continue pumping until the aquifer's level stabilizes for at least nine months. This will tell us what will happen if Crystal Geyser moves in.

Anything less than the above protocol would not be a valid test of Crystal Geyser's potential impact on aquifer water levels.

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