After much debate and many meetings with the council the land use agreement with the Gardner Cottonwoods Water Company was approved in the council meeting on Tuesday night with all in favor except Chairman Kelley. This item has been before the council repeatedly with the council asking for approval from the county engineer and other staff that the agreement would provide sufficient protections for the county and not give substantial liability to tax payers. The water company had met with staff and had received a favorable recommendation.
This will allow the water company to take the next steps in the process. They still have a number of hurdles to clear before the well is available for water users. The site plan will need to be approved by the state and county and a conditional use permit granted from the county before construction of the pumping facility can begin.
Questions continued to be raised about changes that were made to the systems to control water run off in the area. A detention basin was filled in and the substitute system that has been installed has not been thoroughly reviewed by the county staff.
The council made a clear statement to the water company that this issue of water drainage run off will need to be solved before the conditional use permit will be issued to construct the well facilities. The water company had, just that day, provided information on the drainage system they had installed to replace the detention basin to the county engineer. This review and any necessary changes will need to be completed before the project will finally have approval.
Individuals served by the water system in the effected area have been drinking water that is above acceptable nitrate levels for some time. The drinking water has been identified as unsafe for infants and so residents have had to either make the water safe for drinking, or use alternative water sources for their infant children.
Water from the new well will be mixed with the existing water to bring the nitrate levels down to safe levels. Even once approval is complete construction will need to be done on the well and to connect the two water systems. This approved land use agreement, however, allows the process to move forward again to ultimately provide a much needed solution to water users in the area.