LOWELL | The town could head into uncharted territory if it chooses to dive into the new means of sourcing municipal water as presented to the Town Council Monday.
Pat Zaharko, of Commonwealth Engineering, offered the council the results of the firm's hydro-geologic study and a recommendation for an infiltration trench to be installed on the town's well field and water plant acreage south of Lowell.
The council will consider the proposal.
Zaharko said a 1,200-foot-long trench, installed at a 25-foot depth, north of the plant could deliver 1,200 gallons of water a minute.
"This is a new and innovative concept for Indiana. Most communities don't have such a shallow aquifer," Zaharko told the council. He said the trenches have been used along rivers, but not for municipal water systems.
The town currently has five shallow wells and two deep wells at the site. The deep wells are not pumped concurrently, however, because they deliver water high in hydrogen sulfide and fluoride, Lowell Public Works Director Greg Shook said.
Zaharko said the $750,000 cost for the infiltration trench system devised by Commonwealth would include the trench, a pumping system and a berm to protect from surface water. He suggested the materials excavated to create the trench could be sold to defray some of the cost.
Shook said the town is looking to its future and has a need to increase its water capacity should annexation talks become reality.
The average daily water consumption for Lowell is 800,000 gallons from a system with a capacity to pump 1.1 million gallons a day. The treatment plant can handle 1.44 million gallons a day.
Shook said water usage has reached the 1.1 million-gallon mark at times on summer days and in fighting an industrial fire.
The council asked Shook to set up a meeting with Ron Bergstrom, the well field's neighbor to the east, who owns a lake that was once a quarry. He had expressed concerns that any water project could affect his property. Council President Edgar Corns, R-5th, and Council Vice President Craig Earley, D-1st, will represent the council at the meeting.