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Park Rapids well pumping test to begin next week

Elsner Well drilling crews worked to find a new test well about a month ago. A pumping test will start next week. Photo by Anna Erickson, Park Rapids Enterprise

The city of Park Rapids and its consultant, Ulteig Engineers, will conduct a groundwater pumping test starting next week.

The pumping will be on a newly installed water supply test well located near the northwest water tower. Elsner Well Drilling was contracted to drill holes for testing about a month ago.

The well will pump from an aquifer at a depth of approximately 150 feet below the surface.

The purpose of the test is to better characterize the quantity and quality of this aquifer, which is currently being investigated as a possible supplemental water source for the city and to meet the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources water appropriation permit requirements.

The test is scheduled to begin the week of Oct. 8 and will continue for about seven days. A longer pumping duration may be required pending the initial results.

As part of the test, some private domestic and irrigation wells in the area of the well field will be monitored as well. Since the test well will be pumping from the deeper aquifer, Ulteig Engineers said the influence on the shallower aquifer where most residential wells are constructed is not anticipated.

A water treatment facility is one of the last options available to the city to provide clean water. A cost estimate shows a facility would cost $2,482,300.

Currently, the city uses well water primarily from shallow wells 5 and 6 but includes water from deep well 8 during periods of high demand.

Water from the shallow aquifer has been seeing increasing levels of nitrates, which is a health concern. The city's deepest aquifer has increasing levels of iron, which, while not a health concern, creates staining and taste concerns.

The system is operating at peak capacity and is able to meet maximum demand due to water storage. The average daily demand is 430 gallons per minute and maximum daily demand is 859 gallons per minute.

A hydrogeologic assessment was conducted and it was determined the Upper Confined Aquifer is the best source for developing a well field for the city.

A tentative schedule was released that recommended design work over the winter with construction next spring. Funding for the project hasn't been determined but several grants have been applied for through the state.

If there are any questions or concerns about the pumping, contact Ulteig Engineers' Bala Vairavan at 701-280-8524 or Brian Hiles at 218-846-7725 or Scott Burlingame from the city at 732-3163, Ext 13.