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Woodstock looks for other water sources

By Alex Bridges

WOODSTOCK -- The Shenandoah River gives Woodstock a water source, but growth in and around town may push the limits.

Town leaders recently restarted efforts to find alternate sources of water for the town that began years ago, before the housing market crash. Last week Town Council backed a plan to apply for a grant of $45,900 through the Virginia Department of Health. The money would help the town further its pursuit of alternate water sources.

Town Manager Reid Wodicka explained Friday that the grant would pay for Woodstock to have test drilling performed on property identified as potential well sites. Such drilling allows for testing of the capacity of the underground well, the quality and whether the town would need to treat the water from the source, Wodicka said.

Woodstock began looking toward the future and the potential for building in the urban development area outside town limits, Wodicka said. Officials saw the need to look for alternate sources in case any issue arose with the river or the treatment plant, he said.

"It would be good to have additional, potential sources out there that we knew were there and could maybe eventually bring online," Wodicka said. "So obviously that takes a lot of planning to figure out."

A preliminary engineering report conducted in 2006 identified more than 40 wells in the area that could produce from a few gallons a minute to a much greater output, Wodicka said. Studies in 2007 looked at geological formations, and resistivity testing helped point out potential water sites. The 2007 study identified three potential sites for wells -- one on town property and two on private property.

Woodstock currently can produce just shy of 1 million gallons of water a day and has the ability to increase that amount by a half million gallons. Wodicka said the town in 2006 or 2007 sought to find a way to increase the water production by about 3 million gallons per day.

"We obviously don't need that at this point but ... down the road that may be important for the town to have that kind of water that's out there," Wodicka said.

Digging the test wells would help the town in its efforts to "get ahead of the curve" to make sure Woodstock has a source of water for years in the future to accommodate growth.

"Doesn't mean we're doing construction right now as far as finalizing the well sites and bringing them into the system and doing all that stuff," Wodicka said. "It allows us, whenever that does need to occur, to know where that would be and preliminarily develop those sites."

Town officials based the 3 million gallon number on the idea that Woodstock would grow and thus need more water. Wodicka said growth still could happen, especially in the urban development area outside town already planned for houses and other construction projects.

"Who knows what's going to happen, but we just need to be prepared for it," Wodicka said.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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