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Grant money is available for plugging, fixing wells

Grants-to-Counties program provides money for improving groundwater quality

Do you have a well or cistern that needs plugged or renovated? If so, the Poweshiek County Sanitarian’s Office might be able to help. Sanitarian Carroll Smith said grant money is available through the Grants-to- Counties program administered through his office to help homeowners defray the cost of properly renovating or plugging a well or cistern.

“The reason for the grant is to make the groundwater better,” said Smith. The Grants-to-Counties program is operated through the Iowa Department of Health, and provides funds to county environmental health programs to be used for the following incentives:

• Plug abandoned wells or cisterns

• Test water from private wells for bacteria and nitrates (for human consumption)

• Renovate older wells, which are in poor condition

According to experts, abandoned wells and cisterns are not only a potential groundwater contamination source; many are a safety hazard to children and animals.

The Grants-to-Counties program was established under the Groundwater Protection Act of 1987.

According to Smith, homeowners can either hire a contractor who specializes in plugging and renovating wells, or complete the project themselves using county specifications. A properly plugged well or cistern uses a combination of bentonite and gravel. Bentonite is a light-colored clay that expands in water.

“That keeps water from coming in or leaving,” said Smith of the bentonite. For more information on the Grants-to-Counties funds available in Poweshiek County, contact Smith at the Poweshiek County Sanitarian and Zoning office, 102 S. Third St., Montezuma. The office is located in the county engineer’s building. The telephone is 641-623-3762.

 

 

 

 

UPDATED August 4, 2009 1:15 PM

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