The City’s Palermo Wellfield is one of the City’s oldest and most important wellfields, and up until the early 1990s, provided close to 100% of the City’s drinking water. Palermo wells deliver high quality groundwater from six wells to customers throughout the City, blending with water taken from other sources into four reservoirs.
All of our water is disinfected for public health using sodium hypochlorite, a common water treatment additive otherwise known as household bleach. Visit our section on Water Chlorination to learn more about our disinfection program.
Palermo Super Fund Project
In the early 1990’s, the City was conducting routine wellhead protection monitoring when it discovered a contaminant that should never be found in drinking water, trichloroethylene or TCE. TCE is a manmade chemical solvent commonly used in industrial settings as a metal degreaser. In commercial or residential settings, TCE can be found in cleaning fluids, paint, spot removers, metal cleaners and varnishes.
Despite the low levels of detection, as the City’s primary source of supply, the City had to move quickly. Calling in the local and state Health Departments and the EPA, the City coordinated a response to 1) cease production at three of the impacted wells, 2) find new drinking water sources throughout Tumwater to help supply the City’s drinking water needs and 3) build treatment facilities to protect our customers and begin removal of the contaminated waters.
The Palermo Treatment systems have been in full operation since 1999. While the plume is slowly being treated, there has been zero detection of TCE in the drinking water serving our customers. As an added bonus, the aeration treatment towers at the Wellfield help to increase the pH of the water, reducing the potential for pipe corrosion in your home.
For more information on the Palermo Superfund project, contact Water Resources Division at (360) 754-4140, or visit the EPAs site library, Palermo Well Field Groundwater Contamination.
As the City’s oldest wellfield, major efforts are underway to bring production capacity back up to its full potential. In 2009, the City of Tumwater began a project to develop new wells at the wellfield to address capacity and interference issues. These new wells are expected to provide an additional total yield of approximately 1,000 gpm and would be plumbed through the existing treatment systems.