A fast-track effort to connect three area communities with dangerously low wells to Nodaway County's rural water system was endorsed by the County Commission Friday following a public hearing required as a part of the process to procure federal funding to pay for new infrastructure.
The communities of Barnard and Graham in Nodaway County and Sheridan in western Worth County are all facing the prospect of dry municipal wells in the wake of this summer's severe drought.
In order to keep taps and faucets running, the Northwest Missouri Regional Council of Governments is hammering together an emergency Community Development Block Grant application that would provide more than $400,000 in federal funds channeled through the state Department of Economic Development.
The grant would pay for meter pits, water mains and a standpipe needed to integrate the three communities into the Nodaway County Public Water Supply District, which purchases water from the city of Maryville.
A separate project consisting of another CDBG grant, plus grant and loan funds through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will hook the town of Skidmore up to the district water system, which like Maryville is supplied by city-owned Mozingo Lake.
In order to expedite the emergency grant for Barnard, Graham and Sheridan, the three-member commission is allowing Nodaway County to act as the clearinghouse for the funds, which can only be disbursed to a county or municipality.
Well levels in Barnard and Graham and Graham have reportedly fallen to a couple of feet. One of Skidmore's three wells has actually gone dry, and the town has been purchasing water from nearby Burlington Junction.
Regional Council Executive Director Tye Parsons told the commission Friday that the work needed to hook up all four communities to the water supply district is fairly straightforward and should be completed this fall.
Barnard already has a Public Water Supply District main running through town and has only to install a meter pit at a cost of around $25,000. Graham is to be served with a new line that will hook up with an existing main three-quarters of a mile to the north. The price tag for that project is estimated at $100,000.
Sheridan needs about a half-mile of pipe laid westward into Nodaway County and is to receive $50,000 in grant funds.
An additional expense will be construction of a new standpipe — a cylindrical water tower — on a hilltop east of Skidmore where the elevation should supply sufficient water pressure to serve all three south-county communities.
Parsons said it may be possible to move an existing, unused standpipe located east of Maryville in an effort to cut costs.
As for Skidmore, non-emergency grant funds and loans have already been approved that will pay for $1.2 million in water-related infrastructure, including a new water tower.
Page 2 of 2 - The application for emergency funding to pay for the Sheridan, Graham and Barnard projects should be complete next week, Parsons said, and speedy approval is expected. Construction is to be complete within 60 days of the award following a streamlined contractor bidding process.
"The governor's office is really tuned into drought issues right now," Parsons said. "This project is going to move right through," Parsons said.