Chesapeake Ranch Water Company (CRWC) owns and operates the potable drinking water system and fire protection for approximately 4,000 homes and businesses over five square miles in scenic Lusby, Maryland. We are a fully functioning public community water supply system for nearly 10,000 residents of Chesapeake Ranch Estates and an adjacent small retail section.
CRWC’s water system contains two elevated storage tanks with a combined system storage of 750,000 gallons, more than 70 miles of distribution lines, supplying water to many residential cul de sacs, and four deep groundwater wells. When CRWC began experiencing elevated arsenic levels at one of the wells in the late 1990s, we began an extensive evaluation to determine the best way to meet regulations and continue to provide high quality water to our Lusby community.
One option we considered was to abandon the well. Because losing 25% of our capacity would require us to dig a new well into a different aquifer, it was estimated that this option would have cost between $1,000,000 and $1,500,000. There would be no assurances that water from the new well wouldn’t contain elevated levels of arsenic or need to be treated in other ways. With the cost and risks of ongoing arsenic contamination, it was decided that installing an arsenic removal system would be a better option, but one that would come with its own set of challenges.
With only a small 60’ x 120’ lot available for an arsenic removal system, the design and size was a major consideration. Even if the system itself would fit within that space, many systems require an additional large area for wastewater disposal. We simply didn’t have the space. In addition, wastewater disposal can come with a hefty cost for effluent permitting. We would need to be creative in our arsenic removal system design and find the right system to fit our space, cost, and permitting constraints.