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Five test wells going down, seven trending up

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Ken Pysher has recently reported on the status of Shelter Island's test wells.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Ken Pysher has recently reported on the status of Shelter Island’s test wells.

In a surprising turn of events,  five test wells that gauge water levels on Shelter Island are still going down even during a very rainy and snowy season.

This is according to to Ken Pysher, who compiles United States Geological Survey information for the town’s Water Advisory Committee.

Of the 13 test wells across the Island, the readings at Rocky Point, Big Ram, Little Ram, Dering Harbor and Hay Beach were all going down. The Manhanasett well shows no change in water level but was flagged in Mr. Pysher’s report because it is 31 percent below its average February level.

“The Rocky Point well is also matching its lowest ever level (2002) and Hay Beach has established a new low level for this February,” Mr. Pysher wrote to WAC members and others.

Seven other test wells are trending up, although Mr. Pysher noted that the five wells are below their normal average February levels.

“A lot of replenishment needs to occur between now and May-June when the withdrawal season begins,” Mr. Pyesher wrote.

But test wells going up or down might not even mean anything in the grand scheme of things, according to John  Benvegna, a hydrogeologist hired by the town’s Irrigation Committee, a group charged with studying the use of automatic sprinkler systems. Mr. Benvegna is a consultant working out of the White Plains office of Connecticut-based Leggette, Brashears & Graham.

Mr. Benvegna recently cautioned the Irrigation Committee that monthly monitoring of the water levels conducted for the town by the USGS  doesn’t offer sufficient information to know if the situation is worsening, leveling off or getting any better.