Hydrogeological & Regulatory Consulting

 
 

City of Westminster

What was the challenge?

The City of Westminster, Maryland, possesses its unique combination of population growth and water capacity limitations that put pressure on their municipal water supply, but they were in a Catch-22 situation. To afford the capital cost of needed infrastructure improvements, Westminster needed to be in a position to approve residential growth to receive developer-paid benefit assessments. In order to approve growth, Westminster had to demonstrate that its long-standing water supply shortfalls had been addressed with new and/or improved sources with demonstrated sustainable capacity.

How did Barton & Loguidice provide a solution?

Easy solutions to Westminster's water supply deficits were explored long ago, yet the deficits remained. We worked closely with the City Public Works Department, the County planning department and State regulatory officials to identify and evaluate potential water sources novel in nature and design: a flooded quarry and a new high-capacity well. For each of these, the design and evaluation of test data required the development and use of innovative hydrogeologic techniques.

We conceptualized the quarry as a very-wide diameter well. Questions about its sustainable capacity, water quality stability and predictability, and potential to impact nearby wells and streams needed to be assessed. That a nearby stream carried treated municipal wastewater effluent posed a special complication, considering the hydrogeological complexity of the setting.

We designed and executed a novel testing and monitoring program that provided a robust hydrogeologic database on which to base defensible predictions about future sustainable capacity and quality. To maximize yield of the high yielding well, we needed to complete the design of a relocated stream otherwise impacted by the drawdown of the well.

Why was the project a success?

The quarry and well are two lynchpins helping Westminster to permanently retire its long-standing circumstances of water supply shortfall and drought inadequacy.

 
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Lucia ForteGeoscience