West Marin, California, Tackles Saltwater Contamination in Water Supply

Feb. 8, 2022

Construction of the well will occur in two phases, beginning with the drilling in March.

A project to tackle saltwater contamination in the West Marin, California, water supply is set to begin.

According to The Marin Independent Journal, the North Marin Water District has approved a $192,000 construction contract to build a new well, free from saltwater contamination. 

This contamination has impacted two-thirds of its wells. October 2021, the North Marin Water District district set up an emergency water station, a 3,500-gallon water tank in Point Reyes Station, for residents who have salt-restrictive diets, reported The Marin Independent Journal.

The district’s West Marin service area serves 1,800 residents exclusively from three wells, and two of the wells are on a former U.S. Coast Guard property. These two wells are at a lower elevation next to Tomales Bay and cause saltwater to impact supply during dry years.

The third well is on the Gallagher Ranch east of Point Reyes Station and remains unaffected by saltwater, but only produces half of the water originally intended. As a result, the district plans to build a second well at Gallagher Ranch for around $1 million to provide more water.

The new well is expected to be completed by September 2022, reported The Marin Independent Journal.

The water district’s board voted unanimously to approve a construction contract with Maggiora Bros. Drilling Inc. for approximately $192,300, which is more than double the initial district estimate of $75,000 to $80,000. 

According to Tony Williams, assistant executive director, the updated pricing encompasses: the high demand for well drilling throughout California during the drought; fluctuations in prices for materials; and the remote location of the site.

“We’re all glad that the thing is finally being drilled,” said Point Reyes Station Village Association President Ken Levin, reported The Marin Independent Journal.

Construction of the well will occur in two phases, beginning with the drilling in March. Thereafter, the district will need to install a new pipe to connect the well to its transmission system, reported The Marin Independent Journal.

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