By Dianne Cornish, REVIEW STAFF
A 24-hour pump test was conducted at Joe Sams Park this week to determine whether wells on the site can support an irrigation system to supply water to sports fields at the 5th Concession Road East and Centre Road park.
Marco Silverio, project manager for source protection planning with Hamilton’s public works department, said the test conducted by Stantec Engineering was scheduled to conclude at 1 p.m. Tuesday. The test involves two wells on the site, one that has been used to irrigate baseball diamonds and soccer pitches at the park and the other, which has sat dormant since dug last year.
Because Joe Sams Park is outside the municipal water supply system, groundwater is used to irrigate the fields. In September, the South Region Soccer League (SRSL) pulled their cup finals from Joe Sams Park and held them in Caledon, citing poor field conditions resulting from inadequate irrigation of the Waterdown park.
Steve Barnhart, manager of landscape architectural services for Hamilton, said last week that the city’s recreation staff requested increased irrigation for the fields to allow for wider use. The park has eight soccer pitches and two baseball diamonds.
Robert Hilson, a resident of 5th Concession Road East, is concerned that an expanded irrigation system at the park will negatively impact his drinking water supply, “just to supply the park with green grass.” He and some of his neighbours have had occasional quality and quantity problems with their water wells and are worried that increased demands on the area’s groundwater will make things worse, he told the Review.
Silverio said the testing will show how the aquifer responds to increased demands. Also, water levels in surrounding residential wells were monitored during the pump test “to assess the connectivity between wells in the park and around the park,” he said.
The city was granted a temporary Permit To Take Water (PTTW) by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) to conduct the pump test. If the results of the testing indicate that the dormant well can be brought on stream for irrigation use, the city will seek a permanent PTTW from the ministry to implement a full irrigation system at the park.