California gives Monterey slant test green light to resume pumping

The California Coastal Commission has given the go-ahead for water supplier, California American Water (CalAm), to resume operation of its test slant well. The well has been idle since June when groundwater fell below a threshold specified in CalAm’s permit conditions that required it to cease working.

The commission has approved an amendment to the supplier’s permits to operate a test slant well located on the Central Coast in Marina, California. The test well is assessing the feasibility of using a slant well for a seawater desalination plant in CalAm’s proposed Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project.

The original permits issued last November called frequired CalAm to turn off the well were local groundwater levels to fall by more than 45cm as occurred in June. A hydrologic study determined that the drop in groundwater was not caused by the test well’s, but by other pumping operations. The permit amendment will allow CalAm to restart operations with conditions that account for other regional groundwater trends.

“The amendment is relatively minor, but makes a big difference in terms of our ability to continue to collect data from the test slant well and advance our desalination project,” said CalAm president Rob MacLean. “We are under a strict state deadline to find a replacement water source for the Carmel River. We’re grateful for the community support we’ve received and for the commission’s recognition of the importance of this project to the local area’s water supply,” he added.