The City of DuBois, located in Clearfield County, operates a water system serving a population of about 19,000 customers. Though the City’s primary water source is a reservoir permitted for withdrawal of 3.0 million gallons per day, new groundwater wells are under production to supplement the water supply in times of drought. These wells are situated in part of the Marcellus Shale gas development area, and concerns with natural gas drilling have the City proactively protecting these future water sources.
While the City owns the 1,300 acres surrounding the wellfield, other drilling operations outside this area may have potential impacts on the groundwater flowing to the wells. The City has begun preliminary water quality testing to measure the baseline results of the “raw” water in their watershed. “It’s important to know your watershed, and document what you have now,” says Scott Farrell, the Engineering Technician for the water system. Though the groundwater wells will not be available for production for at least a year, the monitoring results will help define the scope of treatment for the water obtained from the wells.
Currently, the reservoir is the primary source of water, but will become the backup source once the groundwater wells are online. The reservoir lies less than a mile from Interstate 80, which has been the site of pollution incidents from truck accidents. The groundwater wells are less suseptable to a contamination incident from Interstate 80. As part of its proactive efforts, DuBois is participating in the DEP’s Source Water Protection Technical Assistance Program (SWPTAP), and will develop a reservoir management plan that addresses contamination concerns.
Source: SSM GROUP INC. | Engineering and Environmental Services | www.ssmgroup.com