Franklin Co. Discussing Water Well Policy

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

Franklin County Commissioners are discussing the possibility of a new policy for how private water wells are adopted and used by the county.

At its work session last week, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners spent 30 minutes discussing the existing policy and whether it should be amended.

Franklin County Commissioner Clint Harper has requested a new policy after noting that a water well in the southern part of the county had not been brought online since it was offered to the county in 2008 while last month, the Franklin County Commission was ready to accept another well on Stone Bridge Road in the northern part of the county.

Currently, Franklin County has contracted with three property owners to buy water from their wells in addition to the water the county purchases from the city of Toccoa.

Last Thursday, Franklin County Engineer John Phillips explained at length to the board the process the county goes through to bring a water well into the system.

Phillips said in order to bring a well into the county water system, both the county and the property owner must go through a lengthy permitting and testing process with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

According to Phillips, the state of Georgia will likely not approve any more new water wells for Franklin County because the county is currently permitted for three times the amount of water it is selling.

Commissioner Harper said though he wants a policy in place that assures any new wells brought online will not be overlooked.

However, Franklin County Water Department Superintendent Bob White said that determining which water well to use has more to do with how much water is needed where.

Franklin County Commissioner Jeff Jacques agreed with White and said that he is concerned any new policy would be a more of a detriment.

Jacques said he does not want to adopt a policy that takes discretion from county employees to do what needs to be done where the water wells are concerned.

After more discussion, Franklin County Commission Chair Tom Bridges asked the county to continue working on a new water well policy, which will be taken up at a future meeting.