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On USGS-Treated Surface Water and Aquifer Recharge

We are sinking. Neighbors noticing door frame cracks appearing and spreading.
Neighborhood near the police station – one mile downstream from the City well.
Alan
I very much agree with this assessment. And it’s especially true in an area where there is already so much underground contamination from poor waste disposal practices — on farms, at gas stations and repair shops, dry cleaners — you name it!
And this is what SCWA wants to do in the Santa Rosa Plain. We will need Mr Iversen’s information when it can be put before a groundwater management stakeholder’s panel for the Santa Rosa Plain.
Jane
This idea of “ground water banking” is a really bad idea. I don’t have enough time to write about it right now, but trust me, I will. Many aquifers have been destroyed for all time by this foolish irresponsible activity. What it does do is make a lot of money for well drillers, trucking companies, contractors, and creates waste water engineering jobs. It also is an un-scientific and unpredictable degradation of the useful waters of the State of California. The current primitive method of “studying” the feasibility does great damage. Any time the earth is perforated, water is injected, and then withdrawn, whether for testing purposes or otherwise, damage is done. Unfortunately the methods used today are antiquated and un-scientific. The complete inability of engineers to comprehensively model, predict, analyze, collect accurate information, or guarantee the results of any “ground water banking” or ASR (aquifer storage and recovery) project speaks volumes about the unsound nature of the activity. There is so much money in this activity that there actually ASR organizations and clubs. There have been some success stories. But do the hours or research and read all the documents. I have seen many of these types of projects go really badly, and then there is no accountability. Anyone can punch some holes in the earth and start fooling around according to some engineering plans, but once the damage is done it can’t be reversed. I have sat on panels and questioned engineers and scientists. They just can’t answer the hard questions. This is why so many water wells have been permanently destroyed from this type of activity. Once an aquifer is disturbed and contaminated (note:
clean water can destroy an aquifer quite easily) it probably will never be the same again no matter how much money is spent or what is attempted to correct the mistake. I have also read the documents and followed the progress of attempts to correct contamination of aquifers. I have yet to see success on the scale that we are talking about here when things go wrong.
Lloyd
I believe that the SCWA’s proposal of “groundwater banking” is to use “excess” Russian River Water in the winter – the same water that goes down the pipeline now as potable water – to replenish the groundwater. They are doing a feasibility study in Sonoma Valley and I believe, Santa Rosa Plains as well. As of before Christmas they were looking at companies to do the study. It sounds like they are looking how best to do this with the right location, whether to spread it or sink it with a well or what… One of my concerns is the rights and effect of taking it out again.
It is something to watch.
Kathy
Surface Water and Aquifer Recharge
This went around back in 03. It is specifically about “treated surface water”?? I just found it again and based on the fact that one of the Key 12 strategies that SCWA is considering is groundwater injection of “excess” Russian River water – I thought that some would find this of interest? Obviously, what process and disinfection treatment methods that would be proposed by SCWA to ‘protect’ groundwater will be a core part of this discussion – so hopefully THM’s won’t be part of the cocktail??!!
Brock

We are sinking. Neighbors noticing door frame cracks appearing and spreading.
Neighborhood near the police station – one mile downstream from the City well.

Alan

I very much agree with this assessment. And it’s especially true in an area where there is already so much underground contamination from poor waste disposal practices — on farms, at gas stations and repair shops, dry cleaners — you name it!

And this is what SCWA wants to do in the Santa Rosa Plain. We will need Mr Iversen’s information when it can be put before a groundwater management stakeholder’s panel for the Santa Rosa Plain.

Jane

This idea of “ground water banking” is a really bad idea. I don’t have enough time to write about it right now, but trust me, I will. Many aquifers have been destroyed for all time by this foolish irresponsible activity. What it does do is make a lot of money for well drillers, trucking companies, contractors, and creates waste water engineering jobs. It also is an un-scientific and unpredictable degradation of the useful waters of the State of California. The current primitive method of “studying” the feasibility does great damage. Any time the earth is perforated, water is injected, and then withdrawn, whether for testing purposes or otherwise, damage is done. Unfortunately the methods used today are antiquated and un-scientific. The complete inability of engineers to comprehensively model, predict, analyze, collect accurate information, or guarantee the results of any “ground water banking” or ASR (aquifer storage and recovery) project speaks volumes about the unsound nature of the activity. There is so much money in this activity that there actually ASR organizations and clubs. There have been some success stories. But do the hours or research and read all the documents. I have seen many of these types of projects go really badly, and then there is no accountability. Anyone can punch some holes in the earth and start fooling around according to some engineering plans, but once the damage is done it can’t be reversed. I have sat on panels and questioned engineers and scientists. They just can’t answer the hard questions. This is why so many water wells have been permanently destroyed from this type of activity. Once an aquifer is disturbed and contaminated (note:clean water can destroy an aquifer quite easily) it probably will never be the same again no matter how much money is spent or what is attempted to correct the mistake. I have also read the documents and followed the progress of attempts to correct contamination of aquifers. I have yet to see success on the scale that we are talking about here when things go wrong.
I believe that the SCWA’s proposal of “groundwater banking” is to use “excess” Russian River Water in the winter – the same water that goes down the pipeline now as potable water – to replenish the groundwater. They are doing a feasibility study in Sonoma Valley and I believe, Santa Rosa Plains as well. As of before Christmas they were looking at companies to do the study. It sounds like they are looking how best to do this with the right location, whether to spread it or sink it with a well or what… One of my concerns is the rights and effect of taking it out again.
It is something to watch.

Kathy

USGS-Treated Surface Water and Aquifer Recharge
This went around back in 03. It is specifically about “treated surface water”?? I just found it again and based on the fact that one of the Key 12 strategies that SCWA is considering is groundwater injection of “excess” Russian River water – I thought that some would find this of interest? Obviously, what process and disinfection treatment methods that would be proposed by SCWA to ‘protect’ groundwater will be a core part of this discussion – so hopefully THM’s won’t be part of the cocktail??!!

Brock
Study finds underground water storage may alter ground-water quality, when treated surface water was used to recharge the aquifer As alternative approaches to increasing water supply and availability in southern California, such as injecting and storing treated water underground are explored, water managers need to be aware of potential impacts on water quality, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
The USGS study of a test site in the Antelope Valley of southern California, near Lancaster, found that when treated surface water was used to recharge the aquifer, by-products of the water disinfection process accumulated in the aquifer. These by products include trihalomethanes (THMs), which have been listed as carcinogenic by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“Injection, storage, and recovery projects that integrate surface-water and ground-water supplies are rapidly becoming important parts of California’s water-supply system,” said USGS scientist Miranda Fram, lead author of the study, “However, this study demonstrates that these projects may alter ground-water quality, and thus, potentially may affect the future usability of the water for some purposes.”

The USGS study, in cooperation with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works and the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency, examined the water quality effects of an injection, storage, and recovery test cycle, with a particular emphasis on the formation and fate of THMs.

The study found that THMs continued to form in the aquifer until the residual disinfectant (chlorine) present in the injected surface water was used up, and that bacteria in the aquifer would not consume significant amounts of THMs. Multiple lines of evidence indicated that THM concentrations in the water extracted from the aquifer decreased with time because the injected water was mixed with the native ground water in the aquifer. Because of this mixing, it was not possible to recover all the THMs in the aquifer.

“Consequently,” said Fram, “repeated injection, storage, and recovery cycles in Antelope Valley aquifers would alter ground water quality in the aquifer. The accumulation of THMs could be minimized by removal of the residual chlorine in the water before injection, or by modification of the extraction program.”

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