Orange County Water District puts extraction well into operation to protect groundwater basin

By on November 2, 2017

As part of the North Basin Groundwater Protection Project, the Orange County Water District (OCWD) has put an extraction well (Extraction Well 1 or EW-1) into operation in order to protect the basin from legacy industrial contaminants in this part of the district’s region. OCWD’s ongoing and comprehensive identified elevated concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were impacting the shallow and principal aquifers posing a threat to city of Fullerton’s production wells.

“This is what we do and we do it well,” said OCWD President Denis Bilodeau. “OCWD is a global leader in groundwater management and protecting the Basin is the very core of our mission. We will do everything possible to ensure that the Basin is protected and that only the highest quality water is served to the more than 2.5 million people in north and central Orange County who rely on the Basin for 75 percent of their water supply. We definitely have a broader plan that we’re following to clean up this contamination, but if we deem immediate action is required we will not hesitate to make that call.”

Placing EW-1 into operation was deemed necessary by OCWD’s board of directors and the early action was initiated in order to protect the groundwater basin. Only drinking water that meets state and federal standards is provided to OCWD’s service area.

After the VOCs were found to be impacting the aquifers EW-1 was prepped, equipped and activated. EW-1 is located near the intersection of State College Boulevard and Valencia Drive in Fullerton. The extraction well is currently pumping 1,000 gallons of untreated groundwater per minute and is then being discharged to a nearby Orange County Sanitation District sewer to be treated and sent to OCWD’s Groundwater Replenishment System for purification. Following all applicable treatment, the water will meet or exceed all drinking water standards for recharge back into the Basin.

EW-1 is an integral part and one of many steps OCWD is taking to continue to cleanup legacy industrial contaminants in the district. Settlement funds from parties responsible for the contamination will be put toward the operation and maintenance of the well. In the interim, OCWD has paid for the installation of the well. District staff have also applied for Proposition 1 grant funding to help offset the cost of the extraction well.

For additional information regarding the North Basin Groundwater Protection Project, go to: https://www.ocwd.com/what-we-do/water-quality/groundwater-cleanup/northbasin/.