Unity urged to look at community well system

Representatives from the DNR last week proposed a new municipal water system for the village of Unity as a solution to widespread groundwater contamination discovered last year.
DNR hydrogeologist Tom Hvizdak, along with representatives from the EPA and DNR drinking and groundwater division, appeared at the July 13 village board meeting to discuss how a community water system could service residences with well contamination.
A community system would involve drilling two wells and dispersing water through a network of underground piping to individual residences. Depending on cost estimates for drilling water lines under STH 13 and the railroad tracks, wells may either be installed in close proximity to each other or on opposite sides of the highway.
The cost of the community well is estimated at $1.5 million.
EPA representative Steve Saryan told the board that EPA’s emergency response super fund would likely cover 100 percent of the cost of the project.
One requirement of establishing a community water system is to form a legal association of which all connected residents must be a member. In order to obtain EPA funding, Hvizdak said the system must be operated by the village through a contract with the association.
“The village can’t own and operate the system, because that would be a municipal system,” he said. “This is the way around it, by the association contracting with the village.”

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