After appearing to finally settle water contamination issues from an old salt pile site in Boulder Junction, Vilas County appears to be facing more and continuing costs for a similar problem near the location of a former county salt pile in Arbor Vitae.
County officials, for several years, have been monitoring problems of sodium chloride (salt) pollution from the old county highway department salt pile site in Arbor Vitae.
The site is located on the south side of Hwy. 70 East across the road from the new highway department building located on the north side of the highway in Arbor Vitae.
The county previously installed monitoring wells and has been providing bottled water for some property owners in the area of the former county site. At Thursday's meeting of the county's highway committee supervisors learned that the county will soon have to pay the costs for drilling a new, deeper well, or sinking the current well much deeper, on some private property in Arbor Vitae.
The pollution plume is said to heading in a southerly direction away from the old salt pile site.
The property, now vacant and located on Jewel Road, is for sale and its owners want a final and permanent solution for their water contamination problem so they can assure whomever buys the property that they have an uncontaminated source of drinking water.
"Vilas County has been deemed to be the responsible party for the sodium chloride contamination," county corporation counsel Martha Milanowski said at the committee's meeting. "A few of the private wells in the vicinity have been found to have elevated levels of sodium chloride. One is beyond the enforcement standards of the DNR. The property owners want something in writing from the county that will say the county will replace and drill a new well."
Milanowski said the property's well is 60 feet deep and the DNR has determined that a safe depth for a new well would be about 150 feet.
Milanowski said she received an estimated cost of approximately $9,000 to drill a new well to 150 feet. She also said that she heard that it might be possible to drill the current well down to the 150-foot depth which could save the county about $1,200.
Committee members agreed there may be a possibility that the cost for drilling a new or deeper well could be much more if potable water was not found at the 150-foot depth and they had to drill deeper.
The committee agreed Milanowski should provide a letter to the current or new property owner stating that the county will replace the well consistent with past practice such as when they faced similar problems due to salt contamination on property in Boulder Junction.
The committee also discussed and took action on other agenda items including:
Charles Rayala was re-elected committee chairman and Alden Bauman was re-elected committee vice chairman.
The committee approved highway commissioner Jarred Maney's request to be allowed to hire five employees for temporary summer employment. Funds to pay for the part-time employees would come from money budgeted already for paying limited-term employees.
Maney said the part-time summer employees could do some crack sealing and other work that would free up regular full-time employees to do more important work during the summer.
Maney was also instructed to see if inmates from the McNaughton Correctional Facility could be hired to do some of the additional summer work. According to McNaughton rules, the inmates would be paid $3 a day for their work, of that amount the facility would receive $2 per day and the inmate would receive $1 per day.
Joe VanDeLaarschot may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.