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City sets meeting for Dana residents

Dana residents whose wells were found to be contaminated with a farm chemical can learn more about tapping onto a city water line during a community meeting on Thursday, Feb. 20.

The water line is expected to reach residents of the Academy Road area within six months of groundbreaking, Hendersonville City Manager John Connet said.
The City Council last week awarded a $747,438 contract to Cooper Construction Co. to run the line after the city received word that state agencies have awarded grants covering about 90 percent of the cost.
State agencies awarded the city of Hendersonville $953,000 for the emergency water line, which has a total estimated cost $1.075 million. The City Council voted last week to cover the $121,763 difference with utilities fund money.
The city has provided bottled water paid for by the Bernard Allen Memorial Emergency Drinking Water Fund and also installed an outdoor spigot that affected residents can use to get as much free water as they need.
County and state environmental agencies say tests show elevated levels of the pesticide dieldrin in at least 12 wells in the Academy Road area off Ridge Road. Regulators first found the contamination after testing in August and October 2012 and confirmed in December 2012. Dieldrin was used from 1950 to 1987 as an insecticide to control termites around house foundations and against insects in corn, cotton, fruit and vegetable crops. Dieldrin was used to control termites until 1987 when it was banned.
The city has been working with local legislators and state agencies to put together the funding for an emergency city water line. It has waived connection fees for the water hookup.
"We're planning for up to 75 connections" to area households, Connet said. "We don't know if all 75 will connect. Some may, some may not. Not all those are contaminated."
The city can't formally let the contract until the state releases the funds.
"Hopefully that will be soon," he said. "We'd like to get started by the first of March ideally. We've tried to phase it in so we could tap people on as we go, which would allow us to get the folks (first) that have the highest contamination level. It just depends on where they're located."
The state grants that put the project over the top financially were announced in a Feb. 3 letter to the city from state Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary John E. Skvarla III and state Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker.The money came in the form of a $453,500 award from Community Development Block Grant contingency funds and a $200,000 grant from the Bernard Allen Memorial Emergency Drinking Water Fund.
"Additional funds from the Bernard Allen Fund will be available to close abandoned wells," the state leaders said in the letter. Last July Henderson County was awarded $300,000 from the Rural Economic Development Center.
"These grants are the results of the combined efforts of our Division of Waste Management and the Department of Commerce along with the tireless efforts of Senator (Tom) Apodaca to provide us the resources to navigate the complexities of this project," Decker and Skvarla said.
The community meeting is at 6 p.m. on Feb. 20 in the fellowship hall of Dana Baptist Church on Ridge Road beside Dana Elementary School.