Town Wells Offer 777,600 Gallons

Published 4:22 pm Tuesday, September 11, 2012

FARMVILLE – The Town of Farmville is able to produce more than 750,000 gallons of water a day from two wells at the water treatment plant and may drill more wells, according to Town Manager Gerald Spates.

The wells would be used to supplement the Appomattox River during periods of severe drought to help meet Farmville's daily use of nearly one million gallons of water per day.

Town Council will get an update from the well driller at an upcoming meeting but was briefed by Spates during its September work session.

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“We've got 750,000 gallons a day that we're getting out of these two wells-when we need it,” Spates told council members.

“”We don't just run them just for the sake of running them, so they'll be there (in an emergency),” he said.

Reboring and other work to increase the flow in both wells proved successful, with one well seeing an increase from 100 to 450 gallons per minute, or a rate of 648,000 gallons per day, and the second well increasing from 25 to 90 gallons per minute, or a rate of 129,600 gallons per day, for a total rate of 777,600 gallons from the two wells combined.

When asked about the level of water in the river last week, the town manager answered, “The river's never really completely stopped…The river's great now (with late August and early September rains).”

Analyzing the situation, Spates told council that the Town is producing between 900,000 and one million gallons of water per day at its treatment plant but the capability of the two wells doesn't translate directly because the treatment plant is not in operation 24-hours a day.

“You can't take that 750,000 gallons and say that's taking care of two-thirds of your water. You're probably taking care of maybe half,” Spates explained. “…You're getting 450 gallons a minute for the 10 hours that you're operating. That's why you need other wells. If you get enough wells during a real drought, during a real serious drought, you could produce all your water from wells.”

Currently, Spates confirmed, the town's daily water use is “still under a million gallons,” even with Longwood University students back in town.

“Longwood has been really helpful as far as getting the word out to students about ways to conserve water,” Spates told council members, adding that LU has also cut its decorative fountains off.

Asked by a council member to assess the impact of Longwood students, Spates replied, “I would say probably about 200,000 gallons a day” has been added to Farmville's daily water use.

That amount surprised some council members, who were expecting a greater impact, but Spates pointed out that LU operates year-round, with faculty and staff using water, so the increase isn't as great as some might anticipate.

“The only use that increased was the students because the faculty and everybody else are there” all year, he said.

The water treatment plant's operators, he added, report they “haven't really seen a real significant increase” since LU returned.

Referring again to the flow rate in the Appomattox River, Spates said, “as far as the river, the river's in very good shape.”

But more wells may be drilled.

“Is it possible to drill another?” asked council member Sally Thompson.

“It's possible you can drill several,” Spates answered.

“Will it take away from (the water flow in wells) already down there?” she asked.

“No,” the town manager told her.

Spates said the Town has applied for grants, including one to do a “geological survey around the water plant to see about other locations to drill wells.”

Mottley Lake was also mentioned during the water supply discussion, with Spates telling council members he believes the Town could release water from the Town-owned lake in Prince Edward County if necessary.

“And in an emergency I don't think anybody's going to stop us from getting water out of Mottley Lake…” he said.

Prince Edward County has given the Town permission to withdraw water from Mottley Lake through the end of the year. Per state law, the Town needed the County's permission as a first step before subsequently applying to the Department of Environmental Quality for required state permission.

Nobody's permission is needed to drill wells.