The Quarryville Authority has renewed its search for an additional water source after two test wells came up dry.
The wells, both drilled on Solanco Fair Association property, did not produce enough water to justify their development, said authority chairman John Chase.
The deeper of the two wells went down 700 feet and produced just four gallons per minute. The second well went down 500 feet to produce 30 gallons per minute.
For a well to serve as a second water source, it must produce about 150 gallons per minute.
"We're now exploring other options," Chase said. "One is to acquire an existing productive well. There are some high-gallon wells in the area, but many are used for private residences and are not situated so they can be used for a public water supply."
A well used for a public water supply must be away from buildings and situated so a wellhead protection area can be established around it. That rules out most residential wells, the authority chairman said.
"There are areas in and around Quarryville that are open enough to drill a well and we're now looking at some of them," Chase said.
The authority began its search late last year when engineers identified the fair association property as a potential site.
While the test wells proved unproductive, they were close to a well drilled nearly 20 years ago by PPL. The utility drilled its well off Dry Wells Rd. to supply water to a never-built peak energy demand generating station. The station was one of several intended to supply electricity when demand peaked during hot or cold weather. None of the plants was ever built.
The PPL well produced more than 1,000 gallons of water a minute but its diameter is too large to create a seal around it to make it useable as a public water source.
A new well would serve as a secondary water source and supplement the well on N. Church St. The state requires municipal systems to have at least two sources of water.
Drilled in the 1990s, the N. Church St. well produces between 400 and 450 gallons of water a minute. The authority now uses a century-old PA American water line as a secondary source. The line starts in Coatesville and ends in Quarryville. It was built in 1906 to provide water to the steam locomotives powering trains along the Pennsylvania Railroad's low grade freight line.
That water main was the borough's only source for decades. After the N. Church St. well came on line in December, 1994, the PA American 10-inch main became a backup supply.
The authority's contract with PA American requires the purchase of at least 35,000 gallons of water a day. That costs the authority about $100,000 a year.
That contract expires in October, 2021. At that point, the authority will have to either negotiate a new contract with PA American or do without water from that line.
The need for another water source spurred the authority to begin looking for a second well.
While that deadline is still two years away, the authority must work quickly to find another source if it intends to stop using the PA American line.
"This is a huge concern for us because we need a backup," Chase said.