Wolfforth's drill for new water source unsuccessful; exploration to continue

Wolfforth's drill for new water source unsuccessful; exploration to continue
Wolfforth drills in search of new water source. (Source: KCBD)
Wolfforth drills in search of new water source. (Source: KCBD)
Wolfforth drills in search of new water source. (Source: KCBD)

WOLFFORTH, TX (KCBD) - Wolfforth city officials vow to continue the search for a water source on the South Plains that has been left untapped by other cities. This comes after about a month of drilling left the city with another well pumping water from the Ogallala Aquifer rather than the Edwards-Trinity High Plains Aquifer.

In January of 2017, Wolfforth and the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District agreed to partner in the effort to drill through the Ogallala and Edwards-Trinity at about 300 feet below the surface to the Dockum Aquifer at about 1,700 feet, not only to search for water for municipal use, but to explore the aquifers geologically. The city budgeted $500,000 and the HPWD provided $90,000.

"We drilled down to a little over 1,700 feet into the Dockum formation," City Manager of Wolfforth Darrell Newsom said. "We obtained some information and the U.S. Geological Society logged that for the Water District and did the logging to find out what was down there."

The hope, for Wolfforth, was to find treatable water in the Edwards-Trinity to serve as an additional water resource that wasn't used by any other entity. Logs showed water was in the 200 to 300 foot range but not in open formations, rather in clay.

"We pumped it and cycled it and did some well development kinds of tools with acid and other things," Newsom said. "But, it was very slow coming out of the formation, ultimately not recovering fast enough to make a producing well."

While the water quality tested better than the Ogallala and could be treated by Wolfforth's electro-dialysis reversal treatment plant, it wasn't enough in quantity at that site in the northern part of the city.

"That's one of the tough things about groundwater and drilling wells," Newsom said. "You can produce in one spot and be not very far from it and not produce as much from another spot. It's kind of hard to tell what you are going to get. It's a difficult process to know what you are going to end up dealing with."

Now, the City plans to move further southwest, in the direction of the Edwards-Trinity and continue exploration.

"It is a lot less expensive because we know pretty much directly where to go and won't go as deep as we did on this one," Newsom said. "But we'll look in that area and see if we can find some formations that could potentially produce more water."

Pending regulatory approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the newly drilled well will serve as an additional Ogallala source for Wolfforth. The test well, according to Newsom, also provided the city and other involved parties beneficial data about the underground formations.

Newsom also expects the completed well to be completed under budget, providing funds for the additional exploration.

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