The City of Yatesville may soon need to start buying water from Lamar County, if a solution to their drying up city wells is not found.
Council member Ronnie Riggins brought up the issue at the July meeting of the Yatesville City Council.
“We seriously need to look at getting another well drilled, or another source for water,” said Riggins. “We’re working off one well, and we’re just taking a chance.
“We have the well at the fire house. We have the one over on Magnolia Circle, and there is one right in front of his (Mayor Cecil Moncrift) mother’s house. There used to be one over at the ball field, but it dried up. I think the one over at Magnolia Circle has dried up, too. It had been giving us problems – would only pump water for an hour or so, then it would quit pumping water. The one at his mother’s house, the water has some dirt or something in it, and it is unusable. So we’re working off of one well.”
Mayor Cecil Moncrief agreed and said he has already been in contact with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) about possibly drilling another city well, but stated the costs may make it prohibitive.
“I talked with the EPD the day they were here, and if we drill a well, we have to hire an engineer to come out here and locate where we’re going to drill it,” Moncrief stated. Then we have to go through all their processes. Or, we could tie onto Upson County or Lamar County, if possible, and use off of them. It is something that we need to do, because we’re kind of running on borrowed time.”
Council member Wanda Dozier questioned that if the city tied onto a county system with higher rates, wouldn’t city rates also go up.
Moncrief replied that the city rate would go up, since the city would have to pay extra for the water it receives. But, he added, they would probably have to raise the rates anyway to pay for a new well. The mayor said the process is vastly different between drilling a public well and drilling a private one.
“The girl with the EPD told me she didn’t know the exact amount, but you’re into six figures drilling a well, because you’re selling water,” he said. “ I asked if I could go out and drill a well for six thousand dollars and have good water, but we have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the same water here? That’s the way it works.
“I’d already talked with Lamar County. They have no problem with running a line down here and putting in a meter, but it has to come through Upson County, so we have to have permission from Upson County. Lamar County is the closest water source to us. Culloden is close, but they’re running off of wells, too.”
Mayor Moncrief said he would check into applying for a grant from the Georgia Rural Water Association to get financial assistance for possibly drilling another well. He also urged residents to make sure they don’t have water leaks that cost the city precious water resources.
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.