Click on the headline title link to expand the story or article.
ALWI Provides Expert Witness Services in Eminent Domain Case
Mark W. Eisner, ALWI President, testified as an expert in a recent court case involving a municipality’s exercise of its plans to acquire a golf course irrigation well via the eminent domain process. The town plans to use the well as a supplemental municipal supply. As reported in a copyrighted Carroll County Times article, our part of the case related to the valuation of the condemnation, as the golf course owner would be entitled to greater compensation if the well were essential for continued irrigation than if other sources of irrigation water existed.
Mr. Eisner’s testimony included hydrogeology and hydrology, MDE water appropriation permits and golf course water use patterns and projections. The golf course did not use the condemned well at all during the severe drought of 1999 and has other water sources to rely on in a future drought. These include another existing well, stormwater from an on-premises catchment and pond, and discounted municipal water available for its use. Based on these facts and supported by Mr. Eisner’s expert testimony, the jury arrived at a valuation of the condemnation acceptable to the town.
An excerpt from the copyrighted article follows. The original can be read at
The town of Hampstead called hydrogeology expert Mark W. Eisner as the first witness of the day. He said the golf course was in drought conditions in 1999 and still had enough water for irrigation with just the well that will remain on the property after condemnation. Eisner said with the about 77 gallons per minute of water production from the original well, which has remained about the same production since 1990, and water from direct precipitation and storm water, which totals about 30,000 gallons a day, should be enough to maintain the golf course.
Eisner said Oakmont Green would have to apply for a permit to use the 30,000 gallons a day from the irrigation pond because it currently only has a permit for 10,000 gallons a day, but should easily be able to obtain the permit. Richard Titus, an attorney for Oakmont Green, said the 30,000 gallons a day is based on the assumption the pond is full at the start of each year, which is not always the case. Eisner said if the well were to fail, a decline should have been seen during the first couple years of use.
During questioning by Titus, Eisner said that his estimate is not a mathematical certainty and that high-yield wells can fail, but it is unusual. “My opinion is that [Oakmont will have sufficient irrigation water] based on the June 1999 performance of [the original] well plus the availability at that time, and ongoing, of pond water in storage and contributed to by storm water,” Eisner said.
Invited Presentation on Groundwater Resources on Delmarva
Mark W. Eisner, P.G., ALWI President, presented at the January 28, 2010, meeting of the Baltimore-Washington-Harrisburg chapter of the Association of Engineering Geologists (AEG) was held in Frederick, Maryland. Mr. Eisner’s presentation was titled Groundwater Resources on Delmarva: Sustainable Management or Long-term Water Mining? The presentation reviewed the hydrogeological and regulatory settings of several select areas on and near the Delmarva Peninsula where groundwater withdrawals are occurring at rates that do no appear to be sustainable. Recommendations were offered for the future.
Somerset County: Permit Issued for Disputed Wells
On October 23, 2009, The Somerset Herald reported that the Maryland Department of the Environment has issued a groundwater appropriation permit for new, deep wells in Princess Anne. The issuance of the MDE permit, which will help end a de-facto development moratorium, was based in part on the favorable outcome of an ALWI hydrogeological impact evaluation.
Somerset County Resolves MDE Water Appropriation Issues
On September 18, 2009, The Daily Times of Salisbury, Maryland reported that Somerset County has “come to terms” with MDE on preconditions for issuance of a groundwater appropriation permit for new, deep wells in Princess Anne. Based on this and the favorable outcome of an ALWI hydrogeological impact evaluation, “the permits now appear to be on the fast track to approval,” according to the www.delmarvanow.com article
Walnut Park Shopping Center Opens
Supported by a favorable ALWI hydrogeologic risk assessment, this client secured project approval and has opened his project for business. According to a copyrighted May 4, 2009 article in the Carroll County Times, the Finksburg Planning and Citizens Council “…has frequently cited Walnut Park during meetings as an example of the design standards it would like to see more of in Finksburg”.
Terrapin Run Expert Testimony
On Thursday August 4, 2005, the Cumberland Times-News reported on the expert testimony of Mark W. Eisner, P.G., President of Advanced Land and Water, Inc. Mr. Eisner has testified the preceding evening, before the Allegany County Board of Zoning Appeals, on a proposed subdivision called Terrapin Run.
The Sun-Times reported that the “…hearing began with continuing testimony from Mark Eisner, President of Advanced Land and Water, Inc., who explained that using the Maryland Department of the Environment’s process for determining the availability of groundwater, the 935-acre Terrapin Run development could sustain the building of more than 1,400 homes over the next 12 years (a timeframe set by MDE.
“Using an MDE-determined figure of 300 gallons of available groundwater per acre per day, which takes drought conditions into consideration, the acreage on which homes could be built would yield about 350,000 gallons per day. But Eisner noted that at full build-out, Terrapin Run homes would require at least 750,000 gallons per day.
The 1,400 homes that would be built in 12 years are estimated to require approximately 244,000 gallons of water per day, well within the 350,000 gpd limit set by MDE. But if 4,300 homes are to be built on the property over 20 years, — more water would be needed to serve the entire community. He said that MDE would not issue [groundwater appropriation] permits to build more houses than the groundwater could support.”
“…’This is one of the best areas in Allegany County [for a project of the nature of Terrapin Run]’, said Eisner. ‘One reason is the property’s bowl-shaped drainage pattern, and the state-owned forest land to the south and east would have less other wells to be potentially adversely impacted by the development.’ These were favorable characteristics.”
Based in part on Mr. Eisner’s testimony, ultimately the Allegany County Board of Zoning Appeals approved Terrapin Run. The Board’s official findings are attached. Accurate, effective and compelling expert testimony is a core ALWI professional service.
Westminster Makes Plans to Protect Water Supply
On Wednesday January 19, 2005, the Carroll County Times reported in a copyrighted front-page story that “the City’s environmental consultant, Sykesville-based Advanced Land and Water Inc., will help organize meetings in February to determine how to best protect Westminster’s underground water sources as the city grows, said Advanced Land and Water Inc. President Mark Eisner. … ”
“Advanced Land and Water Inc. also prepared the source water assessment plan for the city, which included wellhead protection recommendations for Westminster’s 11 groundwater supply wells… Westminster officials commissioned the water study to fulfill a requirement of the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act, which requires states to develop source water assessment programs.”
In an extensive interview ALWI granted late in the afternoon of Tuesday, January 18th, Mr. Eisner discussed the option that the City has to implement an ordinance-based wellhead protection plan. Though not required by present EPA or MDE regulations, some municipalities use ordinances as a means of protecting wells and groundwater supplies from possible contamination arising as a consequence of incompatible land uses. Gas stations are but one type of land use that may be deemed incompatible if in close proximity to a City drinking water supply well.
“Land-use ordinances that would protect wells from potential contamination from gas stations or other businesses that would use underground tanks is an example of [what] could be enacted. Incompatible land [uses] close to a well may not be a great idea,” Mr. Eisner said.
According to the Times article, the City has yet to determine whether an ordinance-approach is necessary sought, and if so, the specific content of such an ordinance has yet to be decided. Westminster Councilman Thomas Ferguson said he and other City officials will need to decide whether passing land-use ordinances would be beneficial to water quality and fair to property owners. “How far we’re going to go with this, I don’t know right now,” Ferguson said. “We need a lot more public input.”
ALWI Designs Repair of Large Sinkhole
On Monday July 28, 2003, the Carroll County Times reported in a copyrighted front-page story that “…about 50 homes in downtown Westminster were left without water over the weekend after a sinkhole broke a water main and…” gas mains. The Times reported that “…emergency crews from Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. closed the site to city workers until the gas mains could be safely closed…” whereupon the City of Westminster restored water service to affected residents. The sinkhole first appeared on Saturday July 26th, and continued to settle through Sunday afternoon. By the late evening, it was about 50 feet wide, 60 feet long and 20 to 30 feet deep, Mayor Kevin Dayhoff of Westminster, said to a Times reporter. Dayhoff said that sinkhole remediation work should take about a week under the control and oversight of hydrogeologists and engineers.
Following an extensive interview ALWI granted late in the afternoon of Sunday, July 27th, The Times reported that “Hydrogeologist Mark Eisner, of Advanced Land and Water Inc. and a consultant for the City of Westminster, said sinkholes typically occur where there are limestone and marble beds in the ground because both stones have calcium carbonate as a principal chemical component. Calcium carbonate erodes in the presence of water, creating a hole underground. There is an identified marble bed, called the Wakefield, in the vicinity of the sinkhole… ‘Does that mean that a sinkhole will happen?’ Eisner asked. ‘No. But it’s not a shock that it does happen.’”
ALWI Supports New High-Capacity Water Supply
ALWI designed and executed a quantitative dye-tracing study to support the water quality characterization work on the potential infiltration of Little Pipe Creek to the quarry. The results of our dye tracing work were instrumental in securing timely issuance of the required water quality certifications from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). We also performed the technical analysis of the groundwater recharge contribution to the quarry, necessary for the MDE Water Appropriation Permit.
EPA Presents Source Water Protection Award to Cecil County, MD.
Read the full story