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Concerns about groundwater

December 18, 2012
Daily Press


I am concerned about the proposed American Transmission Company (ATC) Chandler-18th Road transmission line and its affect on wells in the Carroll's Corner area. In this area, there is only about 4 or 5 feet of soil, then bedrock. The upper aquifer is 40 to 70 feet deep, below which is the blue shale rock layer. The lower aquifer is about 250 to 350 feet deep. Since the soil layer is so thin, surface water can easily travel down any crack in the bedrock and enter the upper aquifer.

The well water watch currently in place by the Delta County Health Department requires all new wells in the Carroll's Corner area to be drilled to the lower aquifer and have the outside of the casing grouted down into the blue shale layer. This prevents surface water from traveling down the outside of the well casing into the upper aquifer. However, because of the expense, some of the homeowners still have their older wells only down to the upper aquifer.

This information is pertinent because each transmission utility pole will have an anchor pole underground to hold it in place. ATC will first drill either a 40 or 100 foot hole - depending upon whether it is on a straight stretch or at a corner. They will then blast a cavity at the bottom of the hole, lower the anchor pole into place and cement the anchor pole at the bottom in the cavity. The Health Department informed me that because ATC is not drilling wells, they do not have to conform to the same requirements of grouting the hole around the anchor pole. The bottom of these anchor poles will be at or below the level of the upper aquifer and they do not need to be sealed. This will lead to surface water contamination of the upper aquifer and there is nothing we can do about it.

Of particular concern is that a corner of the proposed transmission line on County Road 426 - 21st Road is at the lowest point of 120 acres of pasture. During the spring runoff, fecal coliform bacteria from the pasture will be flowing from the pasture down the holes around the poles and contaminating the upper aquifer.

Also of concern is the underground blasting in the blue shale rock layer. This could potentially lead to cracks in the blue shale so it is possible that the lower aquifer could also become contaminated.

I urge ATC to reroute their transmission line to avoid the Carroll's Corner area. Otherwise, this may become a nightmare for area residents to try to figure out how to get good drinking water.


Virginia Hallfrisch

Carroll's Corner area



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