City drills for water in Gibbel Park

New state water standards are putting a pinch on city supplies

Photo by Chris Smith / The Valley Chronicle
Driller Alex Kohn of ABC Liovin Drilling, Signal Hill, Calif., stands in front of the drilling rig in Gibbel Park as Bert Soakai, drilling assistant, is at rear. The city has hired the firm to search deep below ground for fresh new water sources for residents.

■ Chris Smith / Advisory Editor

Stricter state water quality regulations are affecting Hemet’s water supply, and the city is starting to investigate additional new wells.
A drilling rig has been in Gibbel Park all week drilling a hole more than 700 feet deep to test water samples, and a hydrologist is analyzing the quality of water taken at different levels.
Ron Proze, superintendent of the Hemet Water Department, says that no decision has been made yet on whether to build a well in Gibbel Park, but the city is trying to stay ahead of residents’ needs for long-term water supplies.

Photos by Chris Smith / The Valley Chronicle
The large drilling rig wheels are suspended as jacks stabilize the truck while the drill spins into the earth more than 700 feet.

Of the city’s nine wells, two were taken off-line in March due to the stricter state water quality standards thus triggering the need to look for new water sources, according to Proze.
He noted that there is no shortage of water at the present time, but since it takes up to a year and a half to locate and build a new well, the department is working to stay ahead of residents’ needs.
It’s been more than 20 years since the Hemet Water Department has drilled any new test holes, so the current search for water is anything but a routine undertaking. The search for fresh water won’t be without its costs, either. Just to drill the monitoring hole in Gibbel Park is expected to cost about $195,000. If the city decides to proceed with building a new well, that will be at additional expense.
Besides the Hemet Water Department, which serves an area bordered by San Jacinto Avenue on the east, Sanderson Avenue on the west, Menlo Avenue on the north, and Stetson Avenue on the south, the city is also served by two other water departments, the Lake Hemet and Eastern Municipal agencies respectively.

Passersby along Devonshire Avenue couldn’t help but notice the rig in Gibbel Park that stands some 40 feet high as the city searches for a new fresh water supplies.

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