Hearing on proposed water pact is Monday

As Vandalia officials have negotiated with a local partnership on a possible third water source for the city, some local residents have expressed concerns about that partnership affecting their water sources.
In light of the concerns about a partnership with Kaskaskia Springs Water Co., city officials have set a public hearing on the issue.
That public hearing has been set for 6 p.m. on Monday at Vandalia City Hall. While it is scheduled as a committee meeting, Mayor Rick Gottman has urged all aldermen to be present.
The hearing was scheduled to allow local residents to voice their concerns and ask questions about the city’s possible water agreement with Kaskaskia Springs.
The council’s water and sewer committee has met four times with Walt Barenfanger and Jeff Beckman, who are offering to provide up to 150,000 gallons of water daily from an underground aquifer.
The Kaskaskia Springs proposal states that the partners would use two wells, connecting to the city’s water system near the Vandalia Lake spillway.
But their proposal has some residents of that area concerned about the effect of the partners’ wells on their wells.
Aldermen Terry Beesley, chairman of the council’s water and sewer committee, said at last week’s council meeting, “Someone approached me again with concerns that the wells that may be done (for the city) are going to interfere with the surrounding water table.
“I guess we’ve got a few people, at least, who are moderately, if not severly, irritated by this, and they’re scared that their wells are going to go dry … and it’s going to be our fault and they’re going to blame us,” he said.
“Lawyers have already been mentioned and there’s not anything wrong yet,” Beesley said.
“I don’t know if we need to assure these people that the state water survey has to authorize how much we can pull out of these wells.
“We’re not going to interfere with anybody’s well. All kinds of testing has got to be done to make sure that nobody else’s well is going to be interfered with,” he said.
“I tried to explain that to this gentleman, and he still did not believe me very much,” Beesley said.
“We need to find some way to convey to these people the actual facts, instead of their speculations,” he said.
It was at that point that Mayor Rick Gottman set next Monday’s public hearing at city hall.

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