Friday, November 2, 2012

Iowa Community Considers Trading Wells for Community Water

By: Duane Craig

Hills, Iowa residents who are in the path of an expanding underground plume of perchlorate are bracing for the day when they might be told their wells are contaminated with the chemical, according to this article.

Up to now, about 30 homes have been fitted with reverse osmosis water treatment systems to purify their well water, but the plume is on the move and is expected to affect even more homes, according to an official with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

But any new water well contamination will be met with two choices - drill a new well and hope it doesn’t come up contaminated, or vote for the installation of a municipal water system. People in the community have their own wells and only pay the cost of pumping the water. But, if a municipal system is set up, then the estimated monthly bill for 4,000 gallons is expected to be about $50, and everyone will be required to hook up.

The community, though, already has another water problem - nitrates. Voters decided against a municipal water system proposed in 2007 to address the issue. But now, there is $4.63 million available from the Environmental Protection Agency to address the nitrate problem, and $1.9 million of that is a forgivable loan with a low interest rate.

There are residents who were against the water system in 2007, that no longer are, mainly because of the newly available money and the potential for attracting new businesses because of having municipal water.

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