Up to two months of grating drilling sounds may be the price Menlo Park's water users will pay for a reliable water supply in times of emergency.
The city of Menlo Park has hired a contractor, Maggiora Bros. Drilling Inc., to build an emergency water supply well at the city's corporation yard, located at 333 Burgess Drive.
Construction is expected to start in January. The drilling could take fewer than 60 days, with seven to 10 of those days subject to 24/7 drilling, according to a staff report. The rest of the drilling will occur during normal working hours.
It will be the Menlo Park Municipal Water District's first well dedicated to storing water for emergencies, according to staff.
A list of potential well locations, created in 2010-11, is ranked in order of desirability and feasibility according to the city's urban water management plan (see diagram).
Today, if an earthquake or other disaster damaged the district's distribution network, nearly 3,000 households and businesses could immediately lose water, staff said.
According to a study, district customers could be without water from the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System for 20 to 30 days during repairs, city staff say.
The district serves about 16,000 of Menlo Park's residents in Sharon Heights and the city east of El Camino Real. (The central part of the city gets water from California Water Service or Cal Water.)
The city intends to eventually build three or four emergency wells, which would provide users with up to 3,000 gallons of water per minute.
Plans for the next two wells are already underway. In July 2016, the city awarded a $1.6 million contract to consultants from Infrastructure Engineering Corp. to pick locations, prepare environmental documents, design and help with constructing two more wells.
When drilling on the first well begins, nearby residents and businesses will be notified with door hangers, postcards and community meetings, according to the city. Above-ground construction for the first well is expected to start in summer 2017.