Up to half the wells in rural Scott County could be contaminated because septic systems co-exist alongside the county's many shallow wells.The well water also contains heavy mineral deposits that require filtration.
Those are the primary reasons Scott County voters will be asked to decide next month to establish a rural water district to serve areas of the county lacking public water supplies.
The water district must be formed before a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture can be pursued. At this point the $20 million project would be financed by a revenue bond to be retired entirely through user fees.
The proposed district would serve the 3,700 potential customers who depend on their own wells for water. If 80 percent of those customers signed up, each would pay an average of $40.50 a month for water in addition to the $150 connection fee. If only 60 percent participated, the average monthly charge would be $47. Five hundred miles of water mains would be laid in the project.
Most Scott County cities maintain their own water supplies and would not be part of the district. However, the towns of Vanduser, Dielstadt, Commerce, Haywood City, Rockview and others would be. Kelly High School and Scott County Central High School also would be served.
The best thing about this proposal is that nobody would be forced to participate. Those who want to continue using their own wells could do so.