Candy Woodruff

Special to the Grove Sun

COLCORD – The town of Colcord is struggling to get a new well dug as a secondary water source but the town’s efforts aren’t going quickly enough to satisfy the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

Beset with a lack of funding and issues over water rights, the town has been unable to comply with orders from ODEQ, orders that date back to 2007, and DEQ is losing patience, according to Steven Hoffman, a district engineer for the ODEQ Water Quality Division.

Hoffman told the town board Thursday during a special meeting that DEQ is going to start fining the town if a new well isn’t dug quickly.

“Fairland got a well dug in six months,” Hoffman told the board in response to their excuses.

“I can try and get yet another extension for this consent order, but you guys have had since 2007 to try to get something done. Frankly, I don’t think I can get another extension on this,” said Hoffman.

The town commissioned an engineering report in 2007 and was required by DEQ to begin construction by August 1 of this year. When that did not happen, the town sought an extension from DEQ and was granted until May of 2011.

According to Hoffman, the town’s latest estimate of getting a new well dug by 2016 is “unacceptable”.

George Tipton, a representative of Community Resource Group out of Pryor, Okla. has been working with Colcord for years to get a resolution to the water supply issue. He defended the town to Hoffman, stating that grants have been applied for but monies will not be received until late in 2011 and early 2012.

“We appreciate your patience,” said Tipton. “Colcord has limited resources.”

Tipton went on to outline the grants the town has applied for and expanded on the town’s problems with finding a new well site.

Hoffman was not swayed by the argument.

“I recognize the financial challenges, but the town is facing penalties because the 2007 consent order has not been met. The town has got to get the well done sooner than 2016, somehow.”