FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 NOVEMBER 29, 2004
 
 
 High School Water Solution: Well Drilled by Clark?
 
 WILLIAMSTOWN,  Mass., Nov. 29, 2004 -- The Williamstown Citizens for Informed Decisions, a study  group analyzing the Town's water-main bond proposal, called today for  renewed testing of a well, drilled by the Clark, on Mt. Greylock  Regional High School land, to determine its potential for meeting the school's water needs.

 

The well was drilled last year during a search for a new water supply for the art conservation center planned for a  neighboring parcel. Preliminary tests showed that the well yielded  insufficient amounts for the Clark, the Northern Berkshire expansion,  and Mt. Greylock combined. However, the well may provide more than  enough water for the school.
 
 The study group stated that its review of the drilling logs shows that  after a short pumping test, the Clark Art Institute eliminated the well  - designated No. 2 - from further consideration because it did not  produce the 60 gallons per minute (gpm) indicated as the combined need  for the high school, the new art conservation lab, and the 68  condominiums to be added to the Sweetwood retirement complex.
 
 After inspecting the driller's reports and consulting hydrology  professionals,
 the citizens study group also contacted W. Gordon Gould Inc., driller of
 Well No. 2. They learned that testing of the well was discontinued prior
 to collecting enough data to settle questions about the well's  suitability as a source of some or all of the water required by the  school.

 

“Abundant flow” in range of 10-15 gpm

 

The Gould drilling company indicated that at a depth of 693 feet  in Well No. 2, they encountered a flow of water so abundant that it  interfered with the operation of their air hammer. A field pump test  conducted at only 300 feet showed that flow from the well was likely in  the range of 10 to 15 gpm. No pump test was performed at a lower depth  because a larger pump would have been necessary, and none were  available, and so testing was not pursued further.
 
 Water from Well No. 2 has not been tested for perchlorate, the  substance found in Mt. Greylock's water last spring that caused  the school to turn to bottled water for drinking and cooking. The well  is located in the woods about fifteen hundred feet west of the school's  current two wells, which are adjacent to the school, and were drilled to depths of only 180 and 380 feet 40 years ago. Thus, well #2 is much deeper, and much further from the school than are the existing wells.
 

 "More detailed evaluation of Well No. 2 is an example of the kind of  homework that should have been done before Town Meeting. As we consider  our options for the school, both a formal pump test and a complete water  quality profile should be done on the well," said David Dethier,  a  geosciences professor at Williams College.
 
 Professor Dethier also noted that the driller's report shows that Well  No. 2 was not "hydrofractured", a method that widens underground rock  fractures to increase a well's capacity. "This is a standard technique  that often increases well yield," said Dethier.


 Driller's reports show that the two additional wells drilled in 2003 by  the Clark Art Institute were hydrofractured.

 

Well not considered as source for school only

 
 The high school did not investigate the well on its own and was  apparently unaware of the details of the data regarding this well. "When I  asked  the school for the report on the wells drilled on school property,  I was  told they did not have a copy." said resident Andy Hogeland who spent  time researching the school's water options. "The school had been told  that none of the wells met the flow requirement for all three  institutions, but there seems to have been no meaningful assessment of  whether the well could meet some or all of the needs of just the  school."
 
The school's water needs for drinking and cooking have not been  precisely identified, but the School Committee in September reported  that the school uses an average of 30 gallons (six 5-gallon containers)  of bottled water per day. The study group concludes that even if Well  No. 2 produces only 10-12 gpm when pumped steadily, it will probably  prove sufficient for supplying at least the school's drinking and  cooking water. In that event, the current wells could continue to serve  as the source for other uses and the water from Well No. 2 could supply  water for human consumption.

Seek state money to finish and connect well?


 Mt. Greylock has already been authorized to use up to $286,000 from the  Dept. of Education's emergency fund to pay the full amount needed for a  connection to the proposed waterline. "We would urge the School  Committee to take preliminary steps for applying to the state emergency  fund to fully cover the costs for an alternative method for providing  safe drinking water for Mt. Greylock. This would include further tests  and permitting of Well No. 2 and any necessary pumps and pipes to  convey the water from this well to the school building," added study  group member Nancy Nylen.

 

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(Submitted by: Andy Hogeland)