COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
Status Report on Groundwater Monitoring Program
Provide status/update on the Groundwater Monitoring Program.
Messrs.: Tucker, Foley, Graham, Benish, Swales
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
June 6, 2007
ACTION: INFORMATION: X
Following four years of work by the Groundwater Committee the Board of Supervisors adopted the Groundwater Ordinance by amending the Water Protection, Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances on December 8, 2004. Information was presented to the Board of Supervisors on November 2, 2005 concerning the planning and implementation of a Groundwater Monitoring Program. In support of obtaining monitoring sites in an efficient manner, the Board of Supervisors on October 4, 2006 authorized the County Executive to accept Deeds and Licenses granting the County the right to establish groundwater monitoring wells.
Protect the County’s Natural, Scenic and Historic Resources.
This report provides a general status report on the groundwater monitoring program and focuses on three areas of the program which are discussed below:
Groundwater Ordinance “Tier Reviews” of Development Proposals – The Building Code and the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances require information on groundwater to be provided with an application for building permits and submittal of subdivision plats and site plans where the structures will depend upon private water wells. Varying levels of review are required depending on the type of development/subdivision proposed for the site, from Tier 1 to Tier 4. To date, staff has generated or reviewed over 200 reports for subdivisions and site plans. Through the Tier 3 review process, long term well monitoring opportunities have been obtained for four sites and several more sites are currently in process.
Monitoring Wells – The primary purpose of the Groundwater Ordinance is to gather information regarding the County’s groundwater resources. The establishment of groundwater monitoring wells is a key component of this effort.
Water level measurements are being obtained on a weekly basis from three wells identified as MW-1, MW-2 and MW-3 (Attachment A). These well sites have been established through “donation” by the landowner outside of the Tier review process. No known Well Completion Reports exist for these wells therefore, well depth, casing length, bedrock descriptions, and flow rates are unknown. MW-1 and MW-3 are drilled and steel cased bedrock wells while MW-2 is an old rock-lined, hand-dug well. The three wells currently being monitored have provided a good starting point for long-term water-table monitoring and the establishment of static water levels in those locations. Water-table data collected from the three wells are presented as hydrographs as Attachments B through E. Additional and more strategically located wells will be necessary for a more comprehensive understanding of our groundwater resources throughout the County. Staff continues to pursue other monitoring wells in strategic locations.
The well monitoring site easements that have been obtained through the implementation of the Groundwater Ordinance are shown on Attachment F. Also shown are potential future easements on properties that have had preliminary plats submitted but do not have final plat approvals at this time. Decisions to install future monitoring wells on easements will be based on bedrock geology, hydrogeologic units, surrounding land use, subdivision plans, accessibility and well density.
Public Information and Outreach – Natural Resources/Groundwater staff continues to be involved in public outreach efforts geared to educating the public on groundwater issues, responding to public requests for information and reports of groundwater related issues, and encouraging the participation in the groundwater monitoring program through the donation of well sites suitable for monitoring purposes. A Groundwater brochure has been prepared and is distributed at appropriate public events and meetings. Informational talks have also taken place or are planned for events such as Rivanna River Days and League of Women Voters forums. Groundwater staff also assists in activities such as the Red Hill community well effort and numerous public inquiries regarding general groundwater related issues.
Summary – The groundwater monitoring program has been in place for two years. Extensive information will need to be collected over a long period of time before significant issues and trends can be determined through analysis. The focus of the program at this time is to continue to establish monitoring points through the tier review and other strategic well site/locations. However, information gathered from some tier reviews has been helpful in the development review process to organize development/lot locations to minimize groundwater impacts.
A budget for the implementation of the Groundwater Monitoring Program is in place at this time. Costs for installing wells and monitoring equipment will be kept within the approved budget. Plans are in place to install equipment to obtain and store daily measurements at the wells, reducing program expenses beyond the cost of the equipment due to a reduction of staff travel time and vehicle costs.
This is for information only. No action is requested from the Board of Supervisors at this time.
Attachment A-Monitoring Wells Location Map
Attachment B-MW-3 1988-2006
Attachment C-MW-3 One Year Hydrograph
Attachment D-MW-1 One Year Hydrograph
Attachment E-MW-2 One Year Hydrograph
Attachment F-Monitoring Sites and Easements
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