IDWR Says There Are 'Concerns' Over Aquifer But Won't Create 'Area of Concern' 

Despite pleas from the city of Meridian, the Idaho Department of Water Resources has denied a petition to create a so-called "area of drilling concern" in West Ada County. City officials had sought the designation in order to "require better, more responsible well drilling and
abandonment practices." 

Instead, the IDWR said it would "modify the process for well-construction permits in the Meridian area."

This past summer, the city of Meridian distributed flyers across the region, reading, "Help Protect Our Water Supply," telling citizens, "the quality and safety of Meridian's water supply are threatened by the construction of unsealed water wells."

The city asked IDWR to put more than 110 square miles of Meridian under the "area of drilling concern" designation, which would tighten drilling standards.

Local well drillers balked, saying new requirements would dramatically increase their costs.

In a preliminary order issued Sept. 30, IDWR wrote that declaring an area of drilling concern would be "premature," and additional data and evaluations would be necessary.

"We want people to know that there are concerns about contaminants in the shallow aquifer, and there's an intermediate zone that contains naturally occurring uranium and arsenic. We don't want people drilling in that layer to inadvertently spread those contaminants," wrote Tom Neace, Ground Water Protection Program manager for IDWR.

However, he added, effective Nov. 1 long-form applications would be required for all wells to be drilled in what would have been the "area of drilling concern."

  • City of Meridian

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