Groundwater runoff update

Residents near Pilgrim Place have watched water surge from the ground near the corner of Seventh Street and Berkeley Avenue for the past several weeks. Golden State Water says it is the naturally occurring result of a swollen aquifer. Courier photos/Andrew Alonzo

Readers recently contacted the Courier requesting information about where the groundwater runoff along Berkeley Avenue at Pilgrim Place, the subject of our May 24 story, “Golden State: surface water from Claremont aquifer no cause for concern,” is heading.

City of Claremont Public Information Officer Bevin Handel wrote in an email, “The water from the storm drains goes to the ocean. Water cannot be pumped out as it will create a vacuum effect on the well that is located at the site.”

Handel was asked if the city was putting runoff water to use. “Because it is not water resulting from City infrastructure or a pipe break in the right of way, the matter is being handled by Pilgrim Place management and Golden State Water,” Handel wrote in the email. “The City’s Engineering Department has been in contact with the Pilgrim Place facility management team and Golden State Water regarding diverting the water.”

Handel’s email addressed that the runoff is part of an artesian well, “a naturally occurring phenomenon which brings groundwater to the surface without pumping because the water flows under natural pressure.” She then added that the “artesian wells issues associated with the Martin Cienega at Pilgrim Place are a known and re-occurring event … dating back to the early 1900’s when there were a number of artesian wells located within the footprint of Pilgrim Place.”

“Historically, these artesian wells have become active on occasion, after heavy rains, impacting adjacent streets, such as 7th Street or College Park,” her email continued. “GSW has been in contact with Pilgrim Place staff and they have advised their maintenance staff to continue to send the water down the curb to be captured at the nearest storm drain inlet downstream, as this is the best approach to address the current condition.”

It’s unknow when the flow of water will dissipate since the occurrence is caused by natural conditions. “This is a natural phenomenon that only time can address, even months,” Handel wrote.

The city has provided sand and sandbags to Pilgrim Place staff for water diversion, and offered ongoing inspections of any affected structures or infrastructure, Handel wrote.

The Courier also reached out to Pilgrim Place regarding structural damage on the campus.

Pilgrim Place CEO Ron Bolding wrote back Tuesday to say that Pilgrim Place has “utilized sandbags and other means to direct the flowing water away from residences on campus and into the storm drains. While there are inconveniences being caused by this water runoff there does not seem to be any structural impact to campus homes resulting from the Berkley flow at this time.”

For more questions, call Golden State customer service at (800) 999-4033.


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