Citizens from the Sylvatus and Cliffview/Iron Ridge areas of Carroll County expressed their concerns about the poor quality of their water and when they might expect the county to run water lines to their areas during the Public Service Authority Board meeting on July 16.
Three people spoke to the board about the situation in Sylvatus, including Anthony Slate.
“First, my thanks to the board for successfully funding and making the Sylvatus/Little Vine water project a reality. It has eliminated some serious water problems for many dozens of county residents,” said Slate. “However, you decision to drop the planned three-mile section south of Sylvatus along Route 100 has left me and my neighbors disappointed and still searching for solutions to our water problems and shortages, especially Mrs. Audra Richardson, who recently lost her husband, and also the owner of the old Lewis homestead.
“This section along Route 100 may not be heavily populated, but it has tremendous potential for growth. There are many residential and business opportunities, but good water must be available first. The nearby community of Country Woods serves as a good example. Once a community water system was put into place, it grew quickly, and is still growing, adding to the county’s tax revenues. The same thing should occur along Route 100 when PSA water is available.”
Slate added that he board should consider an “alternate method of providing water on the shorter 1.1-mile section of Route 100, south of Sylvatus, to residents needing water.
“My son and I installed two 1,200-foot sections of two-inch water pipe from the main line in Mitchell’s Crossing to two houses in one day, using a rented trencher and burying the lines 30 inches deep. If we can do this, I feel certain that the PSA could do the same on the 1.1 mile distance quickly, and at a relatively low cost.”
Later in the meeting, County Administrator Gary Larrowe addressed that issue, saying that “six-inch lines are required for fire hydrants. Wherever we put water, we put fire protection. That’s why we put in standard six-inch lines.”
John Lewis said he felt that the county has broken a promise in not supplying water as far as the Richardson property.
“When the water stopped at the bridge, I was shocked,” said Lewis. “I’m a surveyor and can read a map. The line dead ended just past Connie Richardson’s . I feel like the funding was there. Why are we talking about not having enough money when the map showed it going further.”
“My father taught me, a promise made is a promise kept,” added Lewis. “If we’re going to be the last people in Carroll County to get water, just belly up, tell the truth.”
Kenneth Brown also addressed the board on behalf of his friends at Sylvatus, asking, “Is there a projected time for them to get water?”
Dr. Tom Littrell, board chairman, said he could not estimate when the funds would be available to start the project. He pointed out that process for the Coon Ridge water project, which just received approval, was first started around 2005.
“Fortunately, we were able to get stimulus money for the Coon Ridge project, but that has dried up,” said Littrell.
“The Sylvatus project was basically a gift,” noted Larrowe. “It was funded with money left over from a regional project.”
“We try to get as much water to as many people in the area as we can,” he added. “We are well aware of your needs, but our hands are tied until we get the funding.”
Residents of the Cliffview/Iron Ridge area of the county also expressed their concerns and needs as far as having county water in their area.
Jim Roark, who lives on Fries Road, said his well used to pump about “eight gallons of water a minute,” but now only produced “a half gallon a minute.”
“I feel like with the climate changes, we never know if we’re going to have water or not. If you’re not on a regional water supply you could be in a lot of trouble,” added Roark, who spends about $600 a year on bottled water.
Mike Farmer, of Revere Road, said he had “four wells and all have iron in them. I sent some water off to be tested, and they said it was the highest percentage of iron (4.5 percent) in water they had ever tested.”
Gaynell Dillon, of Fries Road, said she had “two wells, both unusable.” She added that iron was not the only problem, pointing to a nearby Christmas tree farm as a concern.
“They use chemicals and we get run-off from the Christmas trees. We don’t know what we’re drinking, and the spring is going dry. I ask you to put this water project on the top of the list.”