Nearly 2 years after gas spill, Jackson residents get permanent water solution

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JACKSON (WITI) -- It has been nearly two years since a gas line ruptured in the Town of Jackson -- contaminating the water supply. That's a long time to drink and use only water that is delivered to your doorstep! Now, Jackson residents are finally getting a long-term solution.

Sunday, April 27th was the last day for people to opt in or opt out to a new water supply.

Some are glad to be drinking the last of their bottled water supply -- while others don't really have a choice.

Spring's arrival in Jackson means crews can finally begin work on its water system.

"We're on a road to recovery right now," Town of Jackson Chairman Ray Heidtke said.

Heidtke says the West Shore Pipe Line Company is paying for eight miles of water mains.

Jackson pipeline repair

Jackson pipeline repair

It has been nearly two years since West Shore's pipeline burst, sending 22,000 gallons of fuel into the soil -- contaminating wells.

"A lot of the residents have to use drinking water out of a container, or bottles," Heidtke said.

Sunday, April 27th was the deadline for people in town to either opt in or opt out being connected to the new water supply.

"More than 95 percent have been opting in.  There are a few that are on the outside areas who are opting out," Heidtke said.

Jerry Wanty is an award-winning amateur winemaker in Jackson. He has no option but to connect to the new water supply, because he owns one of 37 wells being shut down by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Wanty says the new water supply is not acceptable for winemaking.

"I moved out here to be in the country and to have a nice well. They're just not nice to the little guy. (The new water supply) has chlorine in it, and you cannot make good wine with chlorine water," Wanty said.

Wanty says he won't give up his hobby of winemaking -- even if that means paying someone else for nearby well water.

"We don't have a choice," Wanty said.

Some in Jackson connected to the new system could have water by the end of May.

"It's been a pain, but we're living with it," Heidtke said.

It is estimated that half of the gasoline spill has been recovered, though removal continues.

We're told nine wells still have gasoline contamination well above the federal standard for drinking.

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