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County taps will quench water woes

Township trustees and county emergency managers have identified at least 10 sites for public access water taps, a move meant to stave off effects of this summer’s drought for more than 400 families.

Thursday, September 02, 1999

Township trustees and county emergency managers have identified at least 10 sites for public access water taps, a move meant to stave off effects of this summer’s drought for more than 400 families.

Officials could know within a week whether the state will approve an emergency grant to help pay for those tap installations and a year’s supply of water.

"We have a list of sites where outside spigots can be placed to provide drinking water," Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency deputy director Mike Boster told a newly-formed Water Management Task Force Wednesday night.

The drought has left dried-up wells in its wake, and areas without water lines have no other resources but emergency help to get residents through winter, Boster said.

Frost-free taps with valves so township or other officials can control access will allow residents to pick up free water for drinking, cooking and cleaning when they need it, he said.

For the plan’s funding, the task force plans to submit an "imminent threat" grant to state officials this week.

Such grants can be approved quickly and the state "appears receptive," said Ralph Kline of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, who is preparing the grant.

Water companies said sites identified so far have water service. But some might require connections or plumbing work for the outside taps. The grant could pay for that work, too, officials said.

Possible tap sites and families they will serve include:

– Aid Town Hall, Aaron’s Creek: 70-75 families.

– Decatur Town Hall, Ohio 93: 108 families.

– Elizabeth fire stations, Pedro and Pine Grove: more than 70 families.

– Hamilton fire station or Hanging Rock Community Center: 14 families.

– Mason Town Hall, County Road 62, and Wilgus Grange Hall: 40-50 families.

– Symmes Town Hall, Waterloo: 80-90 families.

– Windsor fire station, Dobbstown, and the Lawrence County Soil and Water building, Linnville: 30-35 families.

Although there are scattered drought problems in other townships, the current list addresses the most affected areas, Boster said.

While the CAO works on the emergency grant, trustees plan to find volunteers to operate tap sites and to list residents who cannot travel in case the county needs a delivery plan.

Meanwhile, at least one more packaged drinking water donation is headed this way.

Wal-Mart notified the EMA that one more truckload is on the way, Boster said. The county will use its current voucher system so trustees can deliver the water, he said.

There were worries among residents attending Wednesday’s task force meeting that the taps will stall efforts to bring new water lines into unserved areas.

Boster said taps will provide drinking water as a short-term solution only and will not replace water line projects.

"The spigots and frost free taps – that’s not going to interfere one iota with the long-term solution," EMA deputy director Larry Jewell said. "If anything, the drought will help move grants forward."

Residents also remain concerned about lack of water across the county for livestock, trustees said.

The Gallia-Lawrence Farm Service Agency and other programs are trying to help, while Ohio River and Lake Vesuvius water is available to those who can pump it, officials said.

For more information, contact the EMA at 533-4375.