BY JUDY KARST
Staff Writer, The Sentinel
The Rochester Water Department is installing 20 new signs in a circle around the city water supply as part of the state-mandated Wellhead Protection Plan.
The signs read: Drinking Water Protection Area.
Water Superintendent Jerry Wynn said the signs mark the area where the city water supply could be harmed within 10 years in case of ground water contamination, a hazardous spill or some other source. This area is shown in the largest circle on the map shown at left. It is referred to as a 10-year time of travel capture zone.
The next smaller circle is a five-year time of travel capture zone and defines an area in which contamination could reach the water supply within five years. The smallest circle marks an area in which contamination could reach the city water supply in one year.
The sign installation work is 90 percent done. Wynn expects to finish in July.
Three more signs on state roads will be put up once they are approved by the state. These signs will have the same wording but will be larger, 48 inches by 32 inches. They will be on East Ninth Street by First Federal Savings Bank, on Indiana 25 and on State Road 14 near Save-a-Lot.
Rochester is ahead of its Wellhead Protection Plan schedule mandated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Wynn said. Like other cities its size, Rochester is required to have a wellhead protection plan in place by March of 2001.
Larger cities have already completed and implemented their plans. A local planning team, with the assistance of the water department’s consultant, Bonar Group Fort Wayne, formulated the Rochester plan which is now in the hands of IDEM awaiting approval.
The plan involves six phases: establishing a plan team; delineation; inventory; management strategy and public education; contingency plan, and the final plan.
Planning team members were chosen to provide input from different perspectives. They are: Susan Griffith, Emergency Management; Doug Smith, Rochester Metal Products; Wes Burden; Fulton County Health Department; Doug Oakes, Fulton County Solid Waste Management director; Steve Hartzler, county commissioner; Roy Calvert sheriff; Greg Halfast, city police chief; Mike Gearhart, city fire chief; Lynn Grosvenor, Fulton County EMT; Mayor Phil Thompson; Kent Denny, firefighter; and Bill Knauff, barber.
The Rochester water supply comes from ground water pumped from five wells near the water treatment plant located at 530 E. Eighth St.
Water tests performed last year, the most recent available, did not show the city water in violation for inorganic or organic contaminants. Water is tested for arsenic, barium., chromium, fluoride, sulfate, copper, lead and chloroform.
Talk of the Town Article
The City of Rochester, with the help of a 12 member Local Planning Team, has recently completed an update to the City's Wellhead Protection Plan (WHPP) as required by Indiana Statute327 IAC 8-4.1. The WHPP was created in order to maintain the quality in the ground waters that supply public drinking water to the City of Rochester. The update has been submitted to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management for review. A copy of this report is available for viewing at the Rochester branch of the Fulton County Library during regular operating hours. If you have questions concerning the WHPP, please contact Jerry Wynn, Water Superintendent, 320 North Main Street, Rochester, IN 46975, (574) 223-7411.