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More than half of well users still not hooked up in Rock Falls

Mayor says penalties will be strictly enforced

Published: Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
Bill Wescott

ROCK FALLS – More than half of the houses given a mandate to switch from well water to city service by Oct. 1 have not yet hooked up.

In 2011, the city identified 248 houses that need to make the switch, saying the decision was the result of the cleanup of the Reliant Fastener and Parrish-Alford sites. One of the requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency’s remediation process was that private wells within 1,500 feet of those properties could no longer be used.

During a meeting Thursday of the city’s Public Works Committee, Mayor Bill Wescott said that more than 140 houses still haven’t connected to city water. The mayor revisited the city ordinance that was amended earlier this year to prohibit the use of well water within the city limits.

The city has put all of the stop boxes in, and residents must have the city put the meters in place.

The deadline had been set for April 5, but the harsh winter gave residents some extra time. The City Council on April 1 voted to extend the deadline to Oct. 1, to give the water department more time to get the service boxes in place. Letters were sent to the affected households the day after the extension was granted.

“We were cut short on time with the winter we had,” Water Superintendent Ted Padilla said at the time. “There were years where we could have worked into January or started in March, but Mother Nature didn’t cooperate this year.”

Wescott said the ordinance will be strictly policed. As a Class A violation, the penalty can be between $100 and $750.

“I think people have had plenty of time to comply,” Wescott said. “It has been 3 years and 6 months since this started, and we were nice enough to extend it to Oct. 1.”

Citations can be issued by the police or the building department.

Just like other adjudicated ordinance citations, if the situation is rectified within 30 days, the ticket will be thrown out. However, if a resident is noncompliant and is ticketed again, they run the risk of being fined retroactively back to the first offense.

“Each day can be cited as a separate violation of the ordinance in that instance and the judge can fine back to the first day,” Wescott said.

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