Consider another alternative
"Go as slow as you can" was the instruction given at the Water Quality Conference meeting at the Elks Building in McCook on Aug. 20.
These were the instructions given by Jim Gulliford, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7, with offices in Kansas City.
These same instructions were echoed by Tom Osborne and Ben Nelson at that same meeting. I believe we should listen to these instructions for three reasons for the purpose of keeping our water costs down.
They are as follows: (1) Tom Osborne, Ben Nelson and Chuck Hagel all told us they were working on legislation so we could get federal financial assistance for putting in a new well field or a treatment plant, which we all know will take time.
(2) There is a possibility the U.S. EPA Director, Michael O. Leavitt, along with President Bush may raise the standards back up where we will no longer have an arsenic or uranium problem.
We have been told that after standards have been lowered, they will never be raised back up. It is my understanding the mercury standard was just raised back up because of the hardship it was going to place on the electrical power companies.
(3) At the Water Quality Conference meeting at the Elks Club, we were told we should "Go Slow" because there is new technology coming along for treating water that would be more efficient and cost effective.
We need to give all three of these possibilities a chance to function. I have spoken to the council for the purpose of giving them a plan for delaying the process. At the time the council was still wanting to use the McCook Air Base, the engineers were telling us we could not look east or southeast because of the TRW waste and also because the wells were too shallow.
A well must be 50 feet deep for municipalities. I have given the council a map of the area to the south and east of McCook along with data on the irrigation wells that show many of these wells range from 60 to 100 feet deep. They are high volume wells ranging from 650 to 2200 gallons per minute (GPM).
Ron Friehe reported the nitrates in the water on his father's land in 4-2-29 had 6 ppm- Marvin Klooz told me his last nitrate test was 5 ppm on 19-3-28.
Neither of these areas are effected by the shallow well rule nor are they in the path of the TRW waste. If we can get a low nitrate well or two and blend that water with our present system, our nitrate problem would be resolved, giving us more time for resolving the arsenic and uranium problem.
If the standards are raised back up, our problem would be resolved with very minimal cost. What could be better? If the standards are not raised, perhaps we will receive federal assistance through legislation.
We would give us more time for new technology for treatment. If we proceed as Dick Trail and other council members seem to desire, we will go north and spend $14,000,000 without knowing if this proposal will work.
This is another alternative the council should consider besides going north t0 drill and south t0 treat as indicated in the editorial 12-20-03.
Keith L. Arterburn