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Private well owners in Boyceville could be fined $25 to $1,000 per day

By LeAnn R. Ralph

BOYCEVILLE  —  The owners of private wells in Boyceville could soon be fined $25 to $1,000 per day for every day they do not properly abandon the well or obtain a permit.

The Boyceville Village Board at Monday night’s meeting authorized Don Rose, director of public works, to send a notice of ordinance violation by certified letter to the owners of private wells in Boyceville.

The State of Wisconsin Administrative Code (NR810.16) requires all suppliers of municipal water to require unused, unsafe and non-complying private wells within the municipality to be properly abandoned and to have a permit procedure for wells that are in compliance.

The Village of Boyceville has a private well abandonment ordinance as well as a permit system to allow property owners to keep safe wells that are compliant with the law.

The fine for a first-offense ordinance violation ranges from $25 to $1,000 per day, said Police Chief Greg Lamkin.

At $25 per day, that would amount to $750 per month in fines for Boyceville residents who have not properly abandoned their wells or obtained a permit to keep them.

State law requires wells to be abandoned by a licensed well driller. The wells are filled with an impermeable material that prevents contaminants from leaching into the groundwater through the well casing.

Rose told the village board that the owners of private wells who have not properly abandoned them or obtained a permit have had months to come into compliance.

Since last August, “they’ve gotten letters, and we’ve made personal contacts,” Rose said.

Some of the private well owners have had the wells properly abandoned but have not bothered to get the proper paperwork from the well drillers, he said.

All together, there were 13 private wells on the list in Boyceville, Rose said.

“If we don’t enforce it, the village will be fined,” said Village Trustee Herb Dow.

“The village is already in violation,” Rose said.

The village’s ordinance requires a ten day notice that residents are in violation.

After ten days, if the well owners have not come into compliance with the well abandonment ordinance, either by properly abandoning the well and filing the proper paperwork or by obtaining a permit to keep the well, it becomes a daily ordinance violation.

Each day that the well owner is out of compliance is a new violation, and the fine multiples by the number of days, Rose said.

The certified letters will inform private well owners they will have until March 1 to come into compliance, and as of March 1, the fines will start, he said.

The Boyceville Village Board unanimously approved a motion to authorize Rose to work with the village clerk to send notices of ordinance violation to non-compliant private well owners in the village.

Other business 

In other business, the Boyceville Village Board:

• Learned that the Boyceville Police Department responded to 39 calls for service in January. One of those calls involved someone cutting the corner off a license plate to get the expiration sticker. “That was a new one on me,” said Boyceville Police Chief Greg Lamkin.

• Approved a motion authorizing the director of public works to contact Cedar Falls Building to fix the front doors of the Boyceville Community Center.

• Approved a motion authorizing the director of public works to purchase a new alert bell for the village offices at a cost not to exceed $300. The range for the alert bells is $80 to $300, and the building and property committee agreed that it would be better to purchase an alert bell of a better quality, said Village Trustee Bud Gilbertson, chair of the building and property committee.

• Approved a motion to accept the low bid of $56.64 from Cedar Falls Building to fix the bathroom doors at Pafko Park. It was noted that Cedar Falls Building could fix the bathroom doors and the community center doors in one trip. Another bid for the project listed the cost as $67.92.

• Approved a motion to accept the low bid of $523.52 from ServPro to clean the kitchen at the Boyceville Community Center. Another bid for the project listed the cost as $1,125.

• Approved changes to the rental agreement for the Boyceville Community Center. The changes include not allowing tape to be used, such as on the floors, walls and tables. People who rent the community center also are not allowed to use the large gas stoves and the commercial dishwasher as well as silverware, dishes or towels and must bring their own utensils and supplies.

• Approved a motion to ask the Food Harvest Ministry to pay $50 for electricity for the freezer in the Boyceville Community Center for 2015. The freezer was operated for 329 days, and the department of public works put a meter on the freezer to measure the kilowatts used by the freezer for one day, Gilbertson said, adding that the cost per kilowatt was calculated for 329 days and amounted to a little over $50.

• Approved contracting with Rory O’Sullivan out of Spring Valley as the village’s new legal counsel.