Park service to install test wells in Grand Canyon National Park

The National Park Service will begin installing one test well and two monitoring wells next to Bright Angel Creek near Phantom Ranch in Grand Canyon National Park to help determine if this is a feasible water source, photo undated | National Park Service photo by Michael Quinn, Flickr Grand Canyon_NPS, St. George News

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. — The National Park Service on March 29 will begin installing one test well and two monitoring wells next to Bright Angel Creek near Phantom Ranch to help determine if this is a feasible water source for the replacement of Grand Canyon National Park’s critical drinking water supply, the Transcanyon Pipeline.

Replacement of the pipeline is in the preliminary design phase. National Environmental Policy Act compliance is underway to identify the preferred alternative and evaluate the environmental consequences of the range of alternatives.

This 2015 file photo shows Grand Canyon National Park personnel assessing damage from a split in a section of the Transcanyon Pipeline, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona | Photo courtesy of National Park Service , St. George News

In one alternative, the wells would replace water supplied by Roaring Springs via the pipeline. The test well will help determine how much water can be drawn from the area, the water quality characteristics needed for design and will also help to more fully understand potential impacts to Bright Angel Creek. During the test, water drawn from the well will be returned to Bright Angel Creek about 300 feet downstream from the work area.

As proposed, the new system could provide drinking water to Phantom Ranch, Indian Garden and the South Rim. The North Rim, Manzanita Rest Area and Cottonwood Campground would continue to have water from Roaring Springs.

During installation of the wells, all trails to and through Phantom Ranch will remain open to trail users; however, the lower campground bridge will be closed during work hours and may be closed overnight. Work hours will be from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day and the drill rig will shut down while mules enter the construction zone.

An on-site program manager will oversee the test-well installation and will answer visitor questions about the project. For more information about the test-well installation, contact Kris Provenzano, Denver Service Center program manager, at 303-969-2878.

The park service will use a helicopter to fly in a drill rig, supplies and other equipment. While in the park, the helicopter will also remove several vehicles from below the rim of the canyon.

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