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Washington County commissioners hike fees for well permits

By Staff
Increased charges taking effect Oct. 1
By CHRISTINA HALE
Staff Writer
PLYMOUTH — Permits for building or repairing a well in Washington County will cost more come October.
During its meeting Tuesday, the Washington County Board of Commissioners increased permit fees, with the fee for a well-construction permit increasing to $400 and the fee for a well-repair permit rising to $155. The increases, which take effect Oct. 1, were recommended by the Martin, Tyrrell and Washington District Health Department’s Board of Directors.
In Washington County, an application for a well-construction permit or a well-repair permit must be submitted to the health department. An environmental-health specialist becomes involved in all aspects of the well project. The specialists helps locate a well site, inspects the grouting and wellhead sealing and venting and tests the water before the well is approved, according to documents from the health department.
There will be no fee for well abandonment or for well contractor registration.
DeVoreJones said the department’s cost to process and issue a well permit is $465. The permit fee doesn’t reflect that amount because the county provides funding to the department to support environmental-health services, DeVoreJones said.
Commissioners Chairman Billy Corey said, “We’re awfully frustrated with what’s been happening in the past.”
The department had a backlog of permits that needed to be processed. DeVoreJones said a fourth environmental specialist was hired last month by the department. That specialist will work full-time in either Washington County or Tyrrell County, she said.
Martin County has two full-time specialists. Washington County has one.
Sexton is on the health board. He said the department had gotten far behind in processing well permits, but it is “caught up now.”
The fee to test well water is $57, which covers lab expenses. DeVoreJones said a water sample must be pulled by a specialist.
In other business, Brendon Nolan, a field representative with the Wooten Company, told the board that although the county has not officially been approved for a Community Development Block Grant, “it’s pretty much guaranteed.”
Nolan said he expected an approval letter within the next two weeks. With the $400,000 grant, the county wants to rehabilitate nine owner-occupied, low-income residences.
The North Housing Finance Agency is funding an urgent-repair program and a single-family rehabilitation program in the county. Those programs will rehabilitate dwellings that meet specific criteria. Nolan said the deadline to qualify for the urgent-repair program has passed, but people may still apply for inclusion in the single-family program, which is rehabilitating four family dwellings.
Nolan said the project is for “disabled home owners or for people 62 years old or older.”