Chris Kelley, the Island County Hydrogeologist, spoke at the 2023 Annual Meeting in December. He presented a timeline of the county’s hydrogeological database, concluding with a demonstration of the latest toolset.
The county’s effort to capture relevant data on each well and make that data available to county employees, service providers and residents was started by Doug Kelly in the early 2000s. He began with a group of 300 wells specifically to assess the risk of sea level rise. The data was recorded in a Microsoft Access database and the program gradually expanded to include the county’s public water systems and many of the private wells, and to include water quality data and well information.
Now it is more than 20 years later. Doug retired several years ago leaving a gap in data updates to the database and that original Access database is technically obsolete. Chris Kelley joined the county staff last year and has been catching up on the updates while moving the database to an SQL server as well as beginning to expand the program to collect data for water levels among other information.
The general process is labor intensive since much of the data is collected in PDFs which must be manually transcribed and there is limited staff for technical maintenance.
Chris noted that the database does not fulfill water systems’ record retention requirements.
Chris demonstrated the Island County Hydrogeology Dashboard for groundwater data and gave us an overview of the new system. The older GIS viewer is still available for locating wells on the map with parcel numbers and related ownership information but no longer displays the hydrogeology data. The new Hydrogeology Dashboard will search based on map location or by using the Well IDs from Island County or Department of Ecology.