Rincon City Council took up the issue of drawing water from the lower Floridan aquifer as they discussed the payment of a portion of fees incurred by Rincon, Richmond Hill, Consolidated Utilities, and the engineering firm of Carter and Sloope.
The idea of using water from the lower aquifer dates back to 2007. Mayor Pro-Tem Paul Wendelken explained that Rincon was looking at the possibility of exceeding their water withdrawal allotment several years ago and would have to begin looking for other options to enable further growth.
The only option the state Environmental Protection Division presented to the city was purchasing surface water from Savannah, who already had plans to bring water up to the Mackinaw Power plant.
At that point, Rincon began talking with Richmond Hill and others about the lower aquifer possibility. They dug a well to tap into the lower Floridian aquifer near the north end of the city limits and started the permitting process to draw from the well. All this time, Carter and Sloope were talking back and forth with the EPD about the possibilities.
Harold Gill, working with the group to gather the scientific data to present to the EPD in support of their plans to draw from the lower aquifer, is about to publish a paper co-authored by the U.S. Geological Survey and Carter and Sloope in hopes of persuading Dr. Jim Kennedy of the EPD to allow this use.
If this move is successful, it will allow Rincon to have another — and cheaper — option for water to fuel its future growth.
Wendelken said Rincon would still use some surface water, as the city has already put a lot of money into the infrastructure to facilitate that, but that this would serve them well into the future.