Council outlaws water wells in city

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 14, 2007

It’s official: Ironton residents are not allowed to have a water well.

The ordinance was untabled at Ironton City Council’s meeting last night and the measure was passed four to three.

The councilmen were concerned about three things — the possibility of the city water supply being contaminated, someone getting water without paying the sewage fee that other residents have to pay and contaminants getting in the sewage system.

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Councilman Richard Price asked for the motion to be untabled and for the council to vote on it. Several councilmen thought that it should be discussed further in the Public Utilites meetings.

“I don’t think there is any instance where we need a well in the city of Ironton,” Price said. “Not only would we lose money on water because it would be unmetered, we would lose money on the sewer bills to these residences. Plus we are not collecting stormwater fees.”

He said all the water from a well would go into the stormwater system, which means the city has to treat the water without getting revenue for it.

Rich Blankenship said he thought the ordinance should be amended so that someone could have a well to water their garden or lawn. Price said there were barrels that connect to roof drain pipes that collect rainwater if people want to water their garden.

“And the ground will filter the water, so it doesn’t get into the stormwater system,” he said.

Charles O’Leary said he could see both sides of the issue, but he had to vote on the side of safety and said adjustments could be made to the ordinance later.

Ironton City Health Commissioner Aaron Edwards said his department’s concern was that the wells are only inspected when they are drilled and then never again. And he was concerned that people would drink water out of the well and could get sick.

Leo Johnson, Price, Rick Meeks and O’Leary voted for the ordinance and Butch Huff, Bob Cleary and Blankenship voted against it.

In items on the agenda, council had a second reading on a reciprocity agreement to eliminate a municipal tax for people who work outside the city limits, and added more stop signs at the four-way intersections at South 10th and McGovney streets and South 10th and Vine streets.

Hugh Scott, of the community group Neighbors Plus, spoke before council on Thursday.

He said it had been almost exactly one year since he first spoke to council about forming a group to take care of some issues facing Ironton like drug use and abandoned houses.

He said it has been a year of results.

He said the police have put an officer in the Metropolitan Housing Authority complex, which has made neighbors feel safer and cut down on drug use in the park there and the city has torn down some dilapidated houses.

“We believe every citizen has the right to live in Ironton without fear,” he said.

He talked about the Ninth Street Park Project in June which was a collaboration of multiple local agencies to have activities and drew around 100 kids each week.

“It shows we can get things done by helping one another as neighbors,” Scott said. “I thank you and hope the new administration will continue working with all community groups which is a plus for everyone.”

He said he hopes to stand before council in another year and give such a positive report.