PALMDALE — To better understand if a proposed project to bolster the underlying groundwater basin with recycled water may work, the Palmdale Water District Board of Directors on Monday agreed to a contract amendment with its consulting firm to conduct more tests.

The Palmdale Regional Groundwater Recharge and Recovery Project is planned near Avenue L and 100th Street East, where treated wastewater will be allowed to percolate into the ground to be stored. However, the district is still studying the area to ensure it is appropriate for the water recharge.

Almost two years ago, the District drilled test wells and built a test recharge basin measuring 120 feet by 120 feet and three feet deep, said Engineering/Grants Manager James Riley. The basin was filled with water and allowed to percolate for about two months.

The test wells were drilled to a depth of about 300 to 330 feet, where it was believed the drilling had reached bedrock. These test wells, however, did not produce water, leaving doubts that the wells had actually reached the deep aquifer below, Riley said.

Seeking additional information, in November the District contracted with a company that used sonar to map the area below the project site to determine how deep the bedrock was beneath the surface. These tests, completed in March, showed a depth of 600 to 700 feet for bedrock.

“It looks like the monitoring wells that we drilled a year ago really didn’t get down deep into the groundwater aquifer,” Riley said, and new tests are requested to drill deeper and perhaps relocate test wells to better characterize how the area will work for recharging water.

The $225,000 contract amendment with Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, which was included in the 2019 budget and approved on a 4-0 vote of the Board Monday, will be used for the design work and specifications for the new tests.

The data collected from the earlier sonar testing will also be used to better model the aquifer below, Riley said.

“This is one of our big projects that we’ve been planning and working on for quite some time,” Director Robert Alvarado said. “The (Palmdale) Regional Groundwater Recharge and Recovery Project is something that is essential to future customers and current customers in the Antelope Valley, and I fully support this item.”

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