Water Source May Be Closer Than Expected

WINNSBORO – After meeting with staff members from U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney’s office two weeks ago in search of federal assistance in tapping into Lake Monticello for additional future water, Town Council learned Tuesday night that the solution to their problems might be right under their collective feet – and for a considerably lower cost than the proposed $8-$12 million to lay infrastructure out to Western Fairfield.

Jim Landmeyer, a hydrologists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and a Blythewood resident, told Council Tuesday night that he had been following the trials and tribulations of the Winnsboro water system in The Voice newspaper “with great interest.” The problem is not unique to Fairfield County, Landmeyer said, and the USGS only recently wrapped up a study in Chesterfield County.

“You’re not going to get (1,000 gallons a minute) in Fairfield County,” Landmeyer said. “You might get 200-300 gallons a minute. So if you had four production wells in a rock aquifer, pumping 200 gallons a minute, that’s a million gallons a day.

“Have you ever thought about where that water (in the quarry) comes from? If you remember anything from tonight, remember that even though you’re sitting in fractured rock, you’re not sitting in sand (like Chesterfield), you do have an ample but unassessed source of water,” Landmeyer said.

Landmeyer said a groundwater assessment survey would take two to three years to complete, with the entire project costing “a couple hundred thousand dollars.” A 30 percent match would be available from the federal government, he said.

A groundwater survey has never been conducted in Fairfield County, Landmeyer said, at least not since 1879 when the USGS was founded. A mineralogical map was completed in 1970, he said, but there is no clear picture of how much water is available underneath Fairfield County, or how difficult it would be to bring enough of it to the surface for processing. The treatment of the groundwater would be minimal, he said, requiring only a dose of chlorine before it could be piped out to customers. Already there are many private wells in use in the county, he said, indicating that there is more water to be found.

“There is groundwater out there,” Landmeyer said. “The question is, could we find the areas that are thick enough and open enough that you could depend on?”

In other business Tuesday night, Council OK’d $26,000 in capital expenditures for the water plant for the purchase of a flow pump and its accessories. Council also reaffirmed an agreement voted on last November to provide 58 water taps to Landtech, a development in the Blythewood area.

Blythewood’s efforts to bow out of their franchise fee agreement with Winnsboro for the use of right-of-ways in Blythewood for access to water infrastructure has not reached a final conclusion, Mayor Roger Gaddy said Tuesday.

“I have talked with (Blythewood) Mayor (J. Michael) Ross on the phone,” Gaddy said. “I have not met with him personally, but I am sure there will be continued conversations to the negotiations.”

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