Plant developer agrees to change pump test plans

Tuesday February 15, 2011

POWNAL -- Beaver Wood Energy, LLC, has agreed to go along with suggestions from the public regarding testing of an underground well the company wishes to use as asecondary cooling source for a proposed biomass plant.

For it to be allowed to use the well at the former Green Mountain Race Track as a water source, Beaver Wood needs a permit from Agency of Natural Resources Water Supply Division. The well was drilled in the 1960s when the track was built, and Beaver Wood has said it intends to use the well 20 percent of the time when it estimates the flow of the Hoosic River will be too low to use as a water source.

A public hearing was held in December at the Pownal Elementary School at which more than 70 people voiced concerns over the project and told the developer’s engineers what they wished to see in terms of testing.

Meddie Perry, a senior hydrologist with VHB, the firm Beaver Wood has hired, said Tuesdaythe companyhas agreedto extendthe length of the pump test from seven days to 15. Some had wanted a 30-day test, but Ray Bub, a member of Pownal Fire District 2’s board of directors, said the district would be willing to meet the company halfway.

Perry also said the test will be conducted sometime in June, rather than February. He said at the meeting that aquifers don’t recharge in the winter any faster than they do during a dry summer period, but the project’s production schedule will allow the test to be moved. He said the tests will be held during a dry spell to provide the most accurate data possible.

With permission, VHB will monitor every well within 3,000 feet of the track’s well, including the fire district’s and the Evergreen Mobile Home Park which lie about 6,000 feet beyond. Perry said the company will now monitor, upon request, wells beyond the 3,000 foot perimeter.

Perry said the track well will be pumped constantly for 15 days at roughly 500 gallons per minute, while test wells dug at the site will be measured, in addition to water transfer between the aquifer and the river.

Contact Keith Whitcomb at


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