City to test more wells

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The McCook City Council approved further testing on three additional water well sites south of McCook, Monday evening during a regular City Council meeting.

All five council members approved the testing for an expansive look at the nitrate, arsenic and uranium levels at and near the sites. The land has been offered for testing by the landowners Ervain and Nadine Friehe, Marshell and Tracey Sis and Hancock Gravel and Ready Mix.

Greg Wolford of W Design in McCook and Director of Public Works Marty Conroy pointed out the various unacceptable levels of nitrates, arsenic and uranium in the areas over the years, yet Wolford and Conroy both felt that there was a high possibility of finding a few wells that will meet the strict criteria for drinking water.

With the information provided, the council felt further information on the water quality and capacity on the three properties would help the search for a solution of the water problem in the City of McCook.

Council members also approved the first of three readings of the Water Conservation, Drought and Emergency Contingency Plan for the City of McCook.

The approval didn't come, however, without minor discussion about the wording in the ordinance about penalties for non compliance.

The ordinance reads that in the situation of a stage two water watch, the waste of water is in violation of the ordinance.

After two instances of water waste the user is issued a violation notice with the penalty of water rates at the premises doubling for six months. It also reads in the ordinance that stage level three, a water emergency, is the only stage that has specific penalties for those in violation of the ordinance.

Jay Austin of McCook asked the council why the ordinance says that only stage three has a penalty, when the ordinance reads that stage two also has penalties for those who waste water during the second stage water warning.

Mayor Jerda Garey felt that the wording in the ordinance could be better defined as to what is a penalty with the city and what is punishable by law.

The council also asked that "waste" be better defined in the ordinance so McCook residents understand what constitutes wasting water during a time of need.

In other action:

* Council members approved the revised compliance schedule for Water Quality Solution using the existing well field south of McCook.

* Council members agreed to invite representatives of the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the Nebraska Health and Human Services System to a council meeting to discuss the city of McCook's eligibility for variances and exemptions to the maximum uranium and arsenic levels in water.

* The Council approved the five-year term amendment of the telecommunication fee schedule with Alltel Communications.

* Council members denied a request from Jerry and Brenda Sanford to place outside benches or use existing benches on the city's property for advertising from local merchants.

* Council members heard an offer from Leadership McCook, represented by Jeannette Reed and Bill Longnecker, to provide volunteer help for the City Council in any tasks needed for the city of McCook.

* Mayor Garey and other council members thanked city staff and citizens of McCook for all of their efforts in the search for Scott Hoffman Sunday and Monday of last week.

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