The plan was to refurbish the well located on East Crisman Road. Now, due to cost, Blairstown Township is looking to drill an entirely new well to serve as a backup for the current municipal water supply located in the downtown area.
At a township committee meeting on June 28th, an ordinance was passed to fund the engineering services required to search for a new wellsite and conduct a geological survey to assess groundwater.
Maser Consulting, a privately owned multidiscipline engineer and consulting design firm, will head the operation. Mayor Robert Moorhead explained that it would actually we cheaper to start from scratch.
“So, we are looking at other options at this time… After we got the initial report and inspection of the water treatment facility, we realize it is in our best interest to not do the necessary repairs to that because it will absolutely exceed the cost of what we paid to drill a new well.”
A new filtration system is required for the East Crisman well as well as an update on all the electrics in the Water Department building.
This project would cost more than a million dollars, and according to Moorhead, “We’re not in the market to do that.”
Deputy Mayor Walter Orcutt joined the conversation. “Because we are a public entity, we’re required to have a backup well, otherwise the well downtown is working fine. In fact, we’re not even using the well up at East Crisman road because of the filtration issues.”
Currently, the telemetric system that would kickstart the backup well if the main well was to require assistance does not work.
The township spent $500,000 to drill and treat the downtown well. Orcutt stated that the upgrade plans for the backup well could cost the township a bill of 1.5 to 2 million dollars.
“It kind of makes sense to not put money into that well and find another location and spend a third of the amount of money.”
Engineering costs for the water treatment plant, up to $99,900 will be entirely covered by the American Rescue Plan, or the COVID-19 Stimulus Package, with no debt incurred by the township.
“What we want to do is get this ordinance approved so that we can still pay [Maser Consulting] for what we owe them and any costs that are going to come down the line as they look for our new wellsite,” explained Moorhead.
Ideally, the backup well can be drilled close to the current downtown well and operate off the same aquifer, allowing redundancy. The current working well has a brand-new generator, an available propane supply, and proper electric in place.
The new well would only require a pump and the necessary injection ports.
According to Mayor Moorhead, if the township drills into the aquifer that is fueling the current well there will be no need for a filtration system.
If the township does abandon the well on East Crisman, the building will need to be scrapped and equipment removed. Finally, the old well will need to be capped to prevent unauthorized access and contamination.
“I think everyone was owed an explanation on that because it’s a big-ticket item and it is your drinking water in town,” finished Moorhead.
Alex Tironi, Contributing Writer
A recent graduate of George Mason University in Virginia, Alex pursued a degree in journalism with a double minor in American Sign Language and nonprofit studies. She worked as assistant news editor to the Fourth Estate, the university newspaper where she reported on many things but mostly focused on campus crime and PD activity. While working for a nonprofit called the Borgen Project, she wrote about global health and poverty in third-world nations. Alex recently finished an internship writing and editing for a business consulting company in NY. Growing up in the area, she has always been active in her community and brings the same intention as a contributing writer for the Ridge View Echo.