Comments to Council regarding Dewatering Residential Basement Construction

Based upon the Groundwater Supply Feasibility Study that Palo Alto commissioned in 2003, Keith Bennett, Save Palo Alto’s Groundwater founder, argues that the water dumped down the storm drains from dewatering for basement construction is, in fact, water that would otherwise be available for use as potable water through the City’s Emergency Water Supply system. The shallow and deep aquifers are closely connected, and when the deep aquifer is pumped, water flows in from the shallow aquifer levels down to the deeper aquifer levels in a few days / weeks to replace the water removed from the deep aquifer.

Read his comments to City Council here.

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2 Responses to Comments to Council regarding Dewatering Residential Basement Construction

  1. James Bergman says:

    I have to agree that it is a good idea to minimize dewatering where possible. However, sometimes it is necessary to do it. I just think that the water pumped out should be pumped back in. Then no water is wasted.

    • Esther Nigenda says:

      We agree that sometimes dewatering is needed and have also proposed that the water pumped out should be pumped back in. Because lot sizes are usually 5,000 – 10,000 ft2 and possibly other considerations, the City’s Public Works Department does not seem to think this is a feasible option. In fact, we have been told by a builder that re-injecting water in the aquifer is expressly prohibited, except through percolation from surface soils.

      Save Palo Alto’s Groundwater is currently analyzing other construction methods that will hopefully minimize the amount of water that is pumped out. We welcome further suggestions, ideas, innovations, etc. that will help us preserve this valuable resource.

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