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Officials have secured $150,000 through the Colcom Foundation's grant program, "Marcellus Environmental Fund," for the Headwaters Quality Drinking Water Project.
The initiative reportedly will provide low- to moderate-income families in Jefferson, Elk, Potter, Cameron, Clinton, Centre, Clearfield, and McKean counties with funding to secure chain-of-custody water sample analysis of their private water supplies prior to Marcellus Shale gas well drilling activities.
"Everybody needs to send in their applications as soon as possible because we're sending them to the labs, then the labs are setting up the sampling rounds for close proximity to each other," said Kim Bonfardine, watershed specialist for the Elk County Conservation District. "If you'd have five close to each other in Highland Township, they'd want to schedule it so they can get out there and do all five at once."
Dwellings with one person should have an income exceeding no more than $31,750; a two-person income dwelling tops out at $36,250; a three-person income dwelling is $40,888; a four-person income dwelling is $45,300; a five-person income dwelling is $48,950; a six-person income dwelling is $52,550; a seven-person income dwelling is $56,200; and eight or more people is $59,800.
"This isn't a low-income thing, it's a pretty moderate income level," Bonfardine said. "If you fall above the specifications, please still submit your grant application because if we don't get 100 of these income levels that are stated on here, we're going to go ahead and test all of them, up to 100.
"We want to get as many samples as possible, that's one of the main ideas, just to get a good idea as to what is going on in area well water and springs. A lot of other programs don't cover spring water sampling, so this is a good opportunity to get your spring tested if you have that type of water."
For more information, contact Kelly Williams, watershed conservationist at the Clearfield County Conservation District at 814-765-2629 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications can be obtained at the Clearfield County Conservation District, located at 511 Spruce St. in Clearfield, or online at www.headwaterspa.org.
"It's a great opportunity, especially with eight counties able to get that much testing done," Sorg said. "It was a major step in being able to get this grant."
Pick up a copy of the Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.
Elk County Board of Commissioners
When: Tuesday, Nov. 22
Where: Courthouse Annex, Conference Room No. 2
Time: 10 a.m.