More money is now available to improve private wells in several west-central Illinois counties. The Western Illinois Regional Council (WIRC) has received a second $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The first grant also valued at $50,000 was awarded in 2012. It was used to dig and improve wells for five families in McDonough County.
WIRC Planning Coordinator Shannon Duncan says this new grant coupled with an additional $5,000 from her organization should be enough to outfit another five wells.
“Well drilling and the geology as a science is so unknown. So your neighbor may have water but yet that water formation may not exist at all on your property, says Duncan. "So when it comes to wells there’s so much unknown. You may think we need to dig 175 feet but instead we have to go 350 feet."
To be eligible, households must earn less than $45,000 annually, have a well not meeting safe drinking water standards or in need of other improvements and be located in Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Knox, Warren and McDonough counties.
Participating households will receive up to $11,000 for well repairs and improvements. A homeowner will have 20-years to repay the loan with proceeds being be re-invested into the program.
Well permits are issued by the McDonough County Health Department.