Thursday, April 28, 2016

LOW COST LOANS FOR KEWAUNEE COUNTY WELL OWNERS WITH CONTAMINATED WELLS


Your tax dollars are already allocated at the federal level to address the issue of treating water for small wells (private).  Kewaunee County, nor the State of Wisconsin need to re-invent this process.  Read on................

Over the past couple of months Mr. Lee Luft, Chairman of the Groundwater Task Force and Chairman of Finance Committee along with the "Kewaunee Cares" group have been bantering about, the idea that $10,000 of Kewaunee County Taxpayer money should be budgeted to provide "free water and delivery of that water" to county residences who may have a contaminated well.  

Since when is the county in the "grant" business?  And the next question I would ask is, "what is the next item(s) the county is going to be providing?"  Granted, clean water is essential for life, but knowing government it wouldn't be long before they would find another cause to fund!

As we have learned, drilling new wells in high risk areas where a well has gone bad (like the karst areas of Lincoln, Red River, Casco and Luxemburg Townships) is not the answer as in most instances a new well is very likely to go bad in a short period of time.
So, I have been working with Brian Deaner, Community Programs Director Rural Director, of the USDA in an attempt to find a way to provide small well water treatment systems at reasonable costs. 

Subsequent to our initial conversations, Brian set out to find a possible option for us in Kewaunee County.  Brian was able to make contact with a Debra Martin of Great Lakes RCAP (Rural Community Assistance Partnership) out of Ohio regarding our wells situation.  In collaborative conversations with WEP (Water Environmental Program) and RCAP, the consensus was to put forth a treatment solution for our contaminated wells rather than investing in drilling new wells which we have found often times are re-contaminated. 

WEP has determined that the purchase and installation of household well treatment equipment is eligible under the HWWG (Household Water Well Grant) program, and that a packaged membrane filtration system that includes a reverse osmosis filter and an Ultra Violet light (to be placed in the basement where the well water enters the hydro tank) would address the immediate well contamination problems we are experiencing in Kewaunee County.  

Great Lakes RCAP  have received approval to modify their existing HWWG work plan to include serving Kewaunee County. This modification now allows Great Lakes RCAP to offer loans at 1% for up to 11 years to individual homeowners to address the contamination.   The program can be available to Kewaunee County residents within weeks providing it is implemented now by the County.

These treatment packages are estimated at $500-$1,000 per well.  Assuming an average installation of a treatment system is $800, the cost per month to the homeowner with this program would be about $8.00 per month.  This doesn’t include any annual maintenance costs. This should eliminate any idea that local tax dollars would be used to pay for free water, paid for, and delivered with County taxpayer money.  The cost of gasoline to get to a free water location and/or the cost of purchasing bottled water would be more than the $8.00 per month cost. 

I have passed on the entire plan to County officials, so now it will be up to them to implement this program.  

Ironically, the folks at USDA also believe a longer term solution includes treating manure, reducing the amount of water that goes to the fields.  They may be a source of funding going forward to assist Kewaunee County in a Project Phoenix scenario if that proves to be both beneficial and practical.