From the October 2000 Idaho Observer:

Idaho DEQ to deny 300 families'access to water

Water haulers warn agency to find them another source...or else

ATHOL -- As of November, 2000, as many as 500 people who have been safely hauling free water from a high-volume backwoods spring near Farragut State Park will be denied access to their water source due to state concerns that the water is contaminated with E. coli bacteria. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hire a local contractor to dig “tank traps” in an effort to prevent the water haulers from driving their trucks up to the makeshift sluice that can fill a 500-gallon tank in 2 1/2 minutes.

Water haulers have told DEQ that unless they are provided with a viable alternative water source, they will just fill in the tank traps and continue getting water from the spring. According to Judy Brownson, 59, who is in good health and has been hauling water from the spring for 15 years, the contractor has already stated that the spring itself will not be disabled because he knows the water haulers will fill in the traps to get water.

The controversy apparently began last spring after the neighborhood near the spring wanted to know why their private neighborhood association water source must be tested while the water hauler's public source remains untested.

At an October 6 meeting, DEQ official SteveTanner told the water haulers that the water is contaminated with E. coli bacteria and that because the spring is on state property the state is liable for damages if somebody gets sick. Water haulers have offered to sign a document that would effectively remove all liability from the state should anyone get sick from drinking Farragut Spring water. The DEQ refuses to explore such an arrangement.

Private wells in the area run 550-650 feet. Water hauler Judy Brownson said a neighbor's well recently cost $32,000.

People living near the spring have been hauling water from the high-volume source since 1910. To date only one family has ever been reported to have gotten sick from the spring water, and they, according to Brownson, “had dead rats floating in their cistern.”

There is no indication that Farragut spring water contains any other contaminants such as herbicides, pesticides or solvents.

Most well water in the U.S. contains E. coli bacteria. Most people in the U.S. have E. coli and other types of bacteria in their digestive tracts but the bacteria is kept in check by the body's incessant mission to maintain “balance.” “If a person gets sick from E. coli bacteria, it isn't because of the bacteria, per se, it is because their body is out of balance and has provided the environment for the bug to proliferate,” explained Dr. Len Horowitz.

Dominant media reporting of recent deaths from E. coli-contaminated meat has been incorrectly correlated to naturally-occurring, water-borne ecoli bacteria in the minds of the gullible public. According to Dr. Horowitz, author of Emerging Viruses: AIDS and Ebola -- Nature Accident or Intentional? E. coli has been the subject of research since the 1950s in federally-funded chemical and biological weapons development labs. Unless weapons-grade E. coli has been placed into the water, there is no scientific reason to expect healthy people who drink it to get sick.

Brownson believes that the DEQ understands the dilemma its water access policies have created for 500 people who cannot afford to dig a private well and is willing to help the water haulers find an alternative source for their water. The DEQ has stated that a $10,000 grant will be made available to the water haulers for the development of an existing state water source originating in Farragut State Park once they officially create the “Farragut Spring Water Haulers Association.”

If the DEQ honors its commitment to provide the water haulers with a viable alternative water source, then this issue will be resolved fairly and amicably. If the state agency reneges on its commitment, the water haulers have vowed that they will continue to get water from Farragut Spring regardless of DEQ dictates.

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