The March 3 front-page article on Ferndale's hard water woes set off a cycle of thinking and some questions in my mind. Why was the switch from Nooksack water to well water made in the first place, I wondered? I Googled and read the city's explanations. Basically the switch is touted as a proactive move to contain water costs into the future. It all looks good on paper; taste tests were done, less treatment is needed, the city can better control costs using their own water resource.
Later in the day, though, a thought flashed through. Won't SSA Marine be needing millions of gallons of Nooksack water daily to dampen coal piles for dust containment? I found myself wondering if the switch to well water was at all motivated by the objective of freeing up Nooksack water for the coal port? I found myself wondering what the future quality of the Ferndale aquifer will be after years of water used to dampen coal piles seeps its contaminants into the Ferndale aquifer. I found myself wondering how the water cost savings sought by Ferndale with this switch would pan out if the aquifer was seriously polluted by the coal port over time.