New Groundwater Wells Set for Stearns Park

The Long Beach Water Department (LBWD) is planning construction of two new groundwater wells for the north end of Stearns Park as well as the removal of an old one. The project begins later this summer and continues through the fall of 2024.

LBWD is planning to spend $16 million in the upcoming fiscal year to drill a dozen new wells or upgrade the 20 currently being used to supply about 60 percent of the city’s water needs.

“With the record-breaking drought continuing, the Long Beach Water Department is working to ensure greater access to groundwater,” stated Councilman Daryl Supernaw in his weekly district newsletter. Residents close to the project were invited to attend two informational meetings held in mid-July.

The first phase of the project involves the demolition of old well Alamitos 9, water quality testing and 24-hour construction of well Alamitos 9A (late summer 2022 to early spring 2023) followed by well Alamitos 14 (winter to late spring 2023).

Phase two involves equipping the new wells, yard piping, pump installation, building an above-ground facility and installing protective fencing. This will be conducted during daytime hours from fall 2023 to fall 2024.

Regarding neighbor’s noise concerns, LBWD’s website states “The well project will have some minor impacts, including construction equipment in the park and some vehicles along 23rd Street. Noise impacts and other disruptions from construction will be minimal for the homes surrounding the park.

“One of the first things we do before any well drilling project begins construction is install 24-foot sound walls surrounding the project site. The sound walls help keep any noise from drilling or other construction work from becoming too disruptive to the surrounding neighborhoods.”

The well construction project will not have major impacts on park activities, as both sites are located on the northern end of the park along 23rd Street and away from the playground, baseball fields and basketball and tennis courts. The areas surrounding the construction zones will be closed off to the public.

Additional construction-related details can be found at LBWD’s website, under the “projects” tab.

The city is contracting with KYLE Groundwater, Inc. and Best Drilling and Pump, Inc. to complete the Stearns Park upgrades. Civil Engineer Nikolas Baykal serves as LBWD’s project manager.

Each well will be able to pump an estimated 2,500 gallons per minute compared to 277 gallons per minute pumped from the old wells.

Well water in Long Beach and the 40 percent from regional water sources and the Long Beach Water Reclamation Plant on Willow Street is sent to a water testing and treatment facility on Redondo Avenue just south of Spring Street. From there it is pumped to 24 steel hilltop tanks – each with a capacity of 3.5 million gallons of water – that feed customer’s needs via a gravity distribution system.

The city currently has water rights to pump approximately 33,000 acre-feet of groundwater each year. An average California household uses between one-half and one acre-foot of water per year for indoor and outdoor use. Current statewide median indoor residential water use is 48 gallons per capita per day.

Long Beach water consumption tends to run lower than statewide usage due to LBWD conservation and public education efforts.

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