by Clairissa Granquist
On March 3rd 2017 a Town Hall meeting was held at the Lincoln County Community Center. Over 100 community members attended, along with Lincoln County Commissioners, Gooding County Commissioners, EPA, South Central Public Health District, DEQ, Idaho Operations Office, Idaho State Department of Agriculture, Gooding County OEM, and Lincoln County Emergency Management.
The questions that were mainly asked were what was going to be done next, how can we be sure if the aquifer is clean, how dairy farmers that were affected by this were supposed to water their cows, and getting water closer to the affected area. Unfortunately a lot of the questions on what was happening next were not able to be answered at this time, due to the pending investigations and the need for further testing. They are trying to figure out the flow rate and are testing the aquifers levels to try and pinpoint when the contamination is gone. The questions about the dairy farms in the area who need help watering animals spurred a plan that should be put in place tomorrow where water trucks will be sent to help. The County is now working on getting water to the second station house so that it is closer to people North of town.
Many citizens were concerned about what to do next with their contaminated wells. The contamination is a combination of coliform, which is an indicator organism that shows there is a problem in the system, and E Coli. The contamination seems to be linked to runoff from a dairy into the canal. Because of the fractured lava rock the runoff was able to access an aquifer, contaminating surrounding water sources. The panel was hesitant to label the source because of pending investigations, but they assured us that the contamination is no longer happening. South Central Public Health District stated that it is possible some of the contaminated wells are not because of the run off but because of flooding raising the water tables and causing septic systems to flow incorrectly. South Central Public Health District had many informational phamlets available for the public to take home. Their website where all of that information is www.phd5.idaho.gov/ They also had a pamphlet on how to disinfect your well, which is at the bottom of this article. It was suggested to have annual testing and inspections of your well to check for issues or contaminates.
The affected area is currently from 320 N to 750 N on the west of Highway 75 and 2 miles East of the Lincoln/Gooding county line. If you have tested your waters and had a positive test, please report your results. To do so please call 208-886-7641. Take your receipt from the test to the County Commissioners Office where they will issue a rebate to you.
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2nd Time Around
High Desert Insurance & Real Estate Intermountain Tax Service
Lincoln County Chronicle