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Lafayette Conservation & Health Dept. seek new Water Department
Karst Feature fix
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 LAFAYETTE - The Lafayette County Conservation/Planning and Zoning and Lafayette County Health held a joint meeting. The meeting was called to order Monday, Oct. 10, 2016 at 8:20 a.m. by David Hammer, who volunteered to chair the proceedings.
    The first topic on the agenda was water. Private well water in Lafayette County to be more precise. The Conservation Department brought this subject to a recent County Board meeting - to start a private well water-testing program, the County Board told the group to move forward with the project. Kriss Marion, Lafayette County Conservation and County Board member said, “I kind of initiated this idea, because I follow water in Lafayette County. The UW Well Viewer shows that we are not in a great place with water.” Annie Timmerman, Lafayette County Health department head and Terry Loeffelholz, Lafayette County Conservation department head both have done leg work on this project.
    The committee wants to test 150 samples from private wells in Lafayette County for metals (includes arsenic) - $49, pesticides - $27 and homeowners (includes bacteria and nitrates) - $49 or all three at $118. These prices are quoted from a program and lab at UW Stevens Point. The sampling would be done on a volunteer basis (this is not required) and would be done at the homeowners expense.
    Hammer stated he thought residents would hesitant to pay for the metals and pesticides tests and thought the county should pick up the costs or subsidize those two items.
    The initial 150 volunteers would be chosen from three townships in Lafayette County. The plan going forward would be to test 150 every year, until all eighteen of the townships in Lafayette had a chance to get the testing. The results would also be mapped on the county’s Geological Information System (GIS) website.
    Green and Iowa Counties already have well water testing programs and have been testing private wells for approximately ten years.
    The joint committee made three motions:
    1 – To go forward with private well water test program, using the UW Stevens Point program, with the July 18, 2017 date for testing. Approved.
    2 – A motion to create the private well water testing program and be coordinated by the Health Department (as a sub-committee), with input from various sources, provided there is staffing and financial backing from the county. Approved.
    3 – A motion was made – for the purposes of implementing the private well water-testing program, we ask finance to fund .4 of a Public Heath full-time position. Approved.
    Education is an important part of this project. The committee wants to educate the importance of safe drinking water in the county.
    A budget for this new endeavor will be hammered out at a future meeting. It will include .4 of a full-time salaried position; money for educating the public; mailing, printing and envelope costs for sending out the invitations to participate; and money for possibly subsidizing a portion of the test.
    The other item on the agenda is the Karst Feature in Kendall Township. The previous Land Conservation meeting discussed ways on how to fix the problem. Tom Jean, Highway department head and Micah Bahr met at the sight. The idea is that the Highway Department could fill it or burm it and maybe Jean could figure a price. A five foot rod was inserted in the Karst and in all direction it did not make contact with anything. Jean would not commit to a price to fix it, because he doesn’t know how large it is. Jean wants to do an exploratory excavation to see how large the Karst is.
    Loeffelholtz suggested having John Curran investigate with his sewer camera to see what you got. The committee agreed to let Loeffelholtz contact Curren.