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City OKs hire to consult on groundwater. Hydrogeologist will examine wells and geothermal aquifer
  By NORA AVERY-PAGE, Herald and News 8/20/14
     During its Monday evening meeting, the Klamath Falls City Council approved hiring a hydrogeologic services company to help determine if and how its wells are tied to groundwater resources.

   The council voted to contract with Geosyntec Consultants, for no more than $76,100, after a brief presentation and question and answer period from the city public works director Mark Willrett.

   The consultants will help determine if city wells interfere with groundwater resources, as well as how the geothermal aquifer operates, Willrett explained.

   The need for the consulting work stems from the Oregon Department of Water Resources order that the city cease the use of the Fremont and Wocus wells due to insufficient stream flow into Upper Klamath Lake and its tributaries, Willrett’s report to the council reads.     Geosyntec is one of two firms that responded to the city’s request

   “Two of the city’s wells are in the state’s identified zone of influence for Upper Klamath Lake because they are within 1 mile of the affected surface water body,” the staff report reads. “Fremont Well would continue to remain shut off for the duration of the irrigation season and Wocus Well could be used on a reduced level. Using Wocus at this reduced level and supplementing with water from Conger Well Field will keep the hospital area at normal water levels.”

   In the meeting, Willrett questioned the science behind the state water resources department’s order, and said using information from the consulting firm would give the city a foundation to push OWRD to reverse the order.  

   Councilman Matt Dodson asked Willrett if the studies from Geosyntec will actually impact OWRD’s decisions.

   While Willrett admitted there is no guarantee, the studies, once completed by Geosyntec, will put the city in a position to be able to debate with the state entity. The studies also will be   ammunition to be used if the issue turns into a legal matter.

   Geosyntec is one of two firms that responded to the city’s request for proposal for hydrogeologic services. The city has outlined three main tasks for the consultants: Review and potentially challenge the OWRD’s decision to shut off or reduce the Wocus and Fremont wells; review Conger Well Field’s connection to surface water; and review the impact of the city’s geothermal well.

   The base analysis of the city’s wells and aquifer will be conducted in six tasks by Geosyntec, beginning   with a review of city pump test data, followed by a review of U.S. Geological Survey reports and model finding, a groundwater analysis using the Hunt model, a model simulation comparison or leaky aquifer analysis, an evaluation of the sustainability of the city’s geothermal wells, and developing a final report and presentation of findings, at the cost of $45,600, Willrett’s report said. If additional information is still needed, staff can then give Geosyntec approval for a site-specific hydrogeologic model of the system, at an extra cost of $30,500.



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