By Sarah Pridgeon
Work continues to identify the source of the problems affecting water wells near Carlile, but hope springs this week for local landowners as they are granted a reprieve by the Wyoming Legislature. For those whose wells suddenly ran dry or became acidic last fall, the option is now available to tap into the Gillette Madison Pipeline.
“Crook County is now allowed 200 taps off the Gillette Madison Pipeline,” says Senator Ogden Driskill.
“It is at the same rate as taps are in the City of Gillette and the water is sold at the lowest amount. They can water livestock with it and they are allowed up to a million gallons a year.”
The clause was added to the omnibus water bill, which granted project funding for the pipeline. It stipulates that the City of Gillette must agree to allow domestic, livestock and miscellaneous water use for applicants from Crook County.
“This is really a big piece for Crook County people. It changes the Madison pipeline in Crook County drastically,” Driskill says.
The application must be for a tap from an existing eight-inch transmission line and can be extended by Crook County or water districts within the county. No more than 200 taps will be allowed.
According to the bill, taps must be installed within 180 days of application and the tap fee must not exceed the residential rate. The tap must also be billed at a rate equal to the local base residential rate, regardless of use of location.
The special condition appears in House Act 78, Omnibus Water Bill, in which the City of Gillette has been granted $1.8 million to design and construct transmission pipelines and appurtenances for its municipal and rural domestic water supply.
The budget amendment, proposed by Driskill, underwent several iterations as the bill moved through the Senate. The final wording was settled as it received its final vote; both Driskill and Representative Tyler Lindholm voted for the bill.