With the clearing of the building site done, and the Hydro organized, the next project was water!
We had subdivided a small lot in 2008 on the other side of the road from the main property, and the well drilling company had found water at about 100′. They were confident we would find the same thing, even though the elevation of the meditation center is higher than the lower lot. The estimated cost was under $10,000. But they reminded us that all well drilling is EXPLORING for water underground.
The well company, Drillwell, arrived Monday, July 25th, 2012 and left on Thursday. They drilled down to 500’ and found nothing. The first 20-40′ was gravel, then clay to 125′ where there was 4’of gravel and sand above the volcanic bedrock. Usually this is where you find the water, in the sand just below the clay, and above the bedrock. However there was only 4’ of sand. Unfortunately there was only 1/8th of a gallon per minute in the gravel. In the bedrock, as they drilled down to 500 feet, there were limited fractures. So they fracked the well by pumping 2000 gallons down it at 65 gpm. Fracking forces water into the well under pressure, which forces any water fissures nearby to hopefully break open and flow into the well.
We had calculated that with 60 people at the centre using 50 gallons of water a day we would need 3000 gal/day, which means we needed the well to produce at least 2 gallons per min, and hopefully more. The fracking did work and brought the well up to our minimum 2 gpm. Unfortunately at 500 feet deep we are below sea level and when we got the water test results back we learnt that the water is full of salt. We would need a very expensive filtration system in order to make the water from this well potable.
Then we talked about drilling in a different site, near the women’s dorm, but Drillwell said that it needs to be significantly different geologically. They do not recommend drilling so close to the salt well. So we can look at drilling another well lower down on the property, but we could run into the same problem. And we would also have to dig a trench and pump the water up to the center.
Getting water has cost us about $18,000 so far. We paid $20 per foot for 500 feet of drilling. That was $10,000. Then the well casing for 180 feet, at $20 per foot, adds another $4000. Then it cost $2500 to do the hydro-fracture, and $1000 to do the airlift to get the water out. After $18,000, it was definitely very discouraging to spend all that money and not have water! ANICCA!
So now the Water Committee is exploring a number of options, including using ram pumps from the creek and digging a surface well. We will need water before we can think about running a 3 day course. So we hope to find a solution soon.