Residents reconsider idea of joining water authority after wells dry up

Published 10:40 pm Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bogue Chitto Community residents have changed their mind now more than 10 years after county officials tried to get residents to switch to the West Dallas Water Authority’s water system.

The unincorporated area lines a section of Dallas County Road 3, northwest of Orrville. It’s small and consists of approximately 80 homes, but many of its residents have a big problem that’s causing the change of heart.

Bogue Chitto resident Shelley Anne Moore said her water well recently dried up. As a result, Moore called a technician to drill the well deeper. But after deepening the well and replacing its motor, Moore’s faucet began spewing sand.

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“When we washed our hands it was gritty,” she said. “We had to have the faucet replaced because it was crammed with sand. I’ve never seen so much black sand; You can’t brush your teeth because there is sand in the water.”

She isn’t the only one with a sandy problem. At Monday’s Dallas County Commission meeting, Moore presented a petition with the signatures of 72 residents, who are interested in switching to West Dallas County Water Authority’s system.

The authority previously tried to get residents to switch early last decade, but Bogue Chitto was uninterested, West Dallas County Water Authority project manager Malloy Chandler said. In fact, only six people signed up for a contract with the water authority at the time.

“We tried to do this three different times and everyone said they had good water,” Chandler said. “I spent days and days over there and have been to half a dozen meetings. I tested the water and tried to convince them.”

The authority’s source of water is two deep wells. When the water authority attempted to extend its line through Bogue Chitto, it stopped short at Salem School, which is approximately three miles away.

At the commission meeting, District 4 commissioner Larry Nickels said 50 residents would need to sign a contract with the West Dallas County Water Authority for construction to begin.

A contract with the authority requires a 60-month commitment and a small application fee. The base monthly amount is $23 per person, regardless of whether or not water is being used.

The extension wouldn’t be cheap or happen overnight.

Chandler said the extension through Bogue Chitto would cost approximately $1 million to complete.

One potential funding method, he said, is to combine a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant with a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and loan.

“From the date we get the commitment letter, we would be looking at 18 months to get water into someone’s house,” he said.