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Private well operator asks Linn and Johnson homeowners to pay more or buy wells

Mid County Water hired a new certified operator to test wells in 12 subdivisions

Iowa DNR logo
Iowa DNR logo

Mid County Water, which owns or services wells in 12 Linn and Johnson County subdivisions, is asking residents if they want to buy the wells.

Mid County Water in February hired a new certified operator after the previous operator, Kendra Kisling, agreed to give her up her drinking water certifications last fall after failing to do daily tests in some locations, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reported.

Drinking water operators confirm chemical concentrations and help make sure residents using private wells don’t get sick.

Mid County Water, which started as Greiner Well Service, drilled the wells in 10 Linn County subdivisions, including Big Creek Bluff, Blairs Ferry Manor, Chestnut Ridge, Country Manor Estates, Crestwood Acres, D&M, Glen Oaks, Oak Valley, Twin Knolls and Vern Acres, in the 1980s.

The company still owns those wells, as well as one for Oak Ridge Lake Estates in Swisher, the DNR confirmed. Kisling was the previous operator for Cherry Hills subdivision in Iowa City.

Kisling, owner of Mid County, declined to say how many houses Mid County serves in Linn and Johnson counties.

Mid County representatives have been holding neighborhood meetings to talk with residents about their options for ongoing well operations. Many of the meetings have been postponed because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Option 1 is for Mid County to continue to do all water testing with a $30 monthly fee per house, according to a letter sent to residents. The second option is for homeowners to do the daily water testing, which would allow neighborhoods to keep a $10 monthly fee and an additional household charge for submitting water quality tests to the state. The certified operator would remain in place.

The third choice is for homeowners to purchase the development’s water system from Mid County Water.

“We have been meeting with our customers and discussing strategies to ensure long term sustainable operations,” Kisling said in an email to The Gazette. “Mid County Water has supplied water for our customers for 30 years and would like to continue provide that service.”

Jim Boles, 64, who lives in the Twin Knolls subdivision on the west side of Cedar Rapids, said he’s been trying to educate himself about private water supplies.

“Having a third party already in business take care of the well is the best option,” he said. But Boles has lingering concerns about whether Mid County is doing timely water testing.

Chad Kehrli, DNR environmental specialist who has been working with Mid County Water, said the well water in the subdivisions is being tested and is safe to drink.

“We do believe it has been materially safe,” he said. “It’s being tested as required.”

Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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