Bloomfield closes Vereda del Rio San Juan River Trail Park to drill test wells


FARMINGTON — The city of Bloomfield temporarily closed a public park as it explores the potential of pulling water from an aquifer beneath the San Juan River.

Bloomfield officials announced that as of today the Vereda del Rio San Juan River Trail Park will be closed for up to a month.

Public Works Director Jason Thomas said the city will drill four test wells to see if there is an aquifer that could provide quality drinking water to the city of Bloomfield. The project is funded by capital outlay money the city received from the state in 2016.

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Mayor Scott Eckstein said history has shown the city needs to have more than one source of water. The city currently relies on the Bloomfield Irrigation District ditch for water. A breach in the ditch last year highlighted the need to find a secondary source of water.

"We started having worries about whether we'd be able to supply our residents with water," Eckstein said.

He said a boulder that fell into the ditch about 15 years ago caused uncertainty about the water situation.

"It's really important that we don't depend on one water source," he said, adding that the more water sources the city has the better off it will be.

Thomas said three of the four test wells will be drilled in the developed area of the park and the fourth will be drilled upstream. He said after the work is complete there will not be visual impairments to the park.

Thomas anticipates the work will take up to a month.

"We'll do everything we can to shorten that," he said.

The length of time the park will be closed will depend on what type of geology is found during the drilling.

"If we don't find good geology, it will be open sooner," Thomas said.

He said the city is hoping to find a clean gravel layer that extends under the river and has a high flow rate. The riverbed will be used as a filter and water will be pulled into a collector well.

The city will also look at the quality of the water. If there are a lot of dissolved salts or dissolved solids, it will not be able to use the water.

"We're not looking for the briny groundwater that kind of comes down the slope to the river," Thomas said. 

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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