Hilldale Water seeks to drill well to aquifer|[07/22/08]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hilldale Water District plans to drill a well that will connect to the Sparta aquifer, install water lines and build a treatment plant.

The project is being assessed for potential environment impacts. In addition, the district, known mostly for serving Oak Park subdivision, has filed an application for financial assistance for the project with the USDA Rural Utilities Service.

“Any time we’re dealing with federal funds we do an environmental assessment,” said Danny Ivy, area director for the USDA Rural Development. “All that’s involved is making sure (the project) is not going to adversely affect the environment.”

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According to a notice published in The Vicksburg Post Friday, “The alternatives considered to the proposed project include drilling the well to the Forest Hill Aquifer, which currently provides all of the water association’s water. The association would not have a backup source of water if the aquifer is depleted.”

Because the project is still in the planning stages, the Hilldale Water District chose not to comment.

The proposed project’s location includes wetlands and public assets, so the Army Corps of Engineers will be involved in the environmental assessment, the results of which will be open to the public.

Water districts are required to post notices about environmental assessments. The public can review this particular environmental assessment at the USDA Rural Development office, 110 Northgate Road Suite B in Natchez.

Ivy said that an environmental assessment can take 30 to 90 days, pending any adverse findings or comments.

Hilldale Water District serves about 3,300 people on most of U.S. 27, Gibson Road, parts of Halls Ferry Road and Lee Road in addition to Oak Park.

There are six total water districts in Warren County, including the City of Vicksburg, Hilldale, Culkin, Fisher Ferry, Yokena-Jeff Davis and Eagle Lake.

In 2004, the city spent about $2 million to add six new water wells off Long Lake Road, 7,000 feet of water lines and new electrical distribution circuits. At the time, it was estimated those wells would serve the city for 15 years.

Currently, Culkin and Yokena-Jeff Davis buy at least some of their water from the city. Fisher Ferry drills from the Sparta Aquifer and Eagle Lake has two wells.