GEORGETOWN — City officials voted unanimously on Monday to sell up to 500,000 gallons of water a day to a proposed new coal mine near Homer.
Georgetown City Council members voted to enter into a 30-year contract with Sunrise Coal of Terre Haute, Ind., to supply production water to the proposed underground mine, which will be built near the intersection of County Roads 800 North and 100 East in Vermilion County.
Earlier this spring, the Homer Village Board agreed to supply the mine with up to 20,000 gallons of treated water a day and provide sewer services, but it declined to supply the mine with raw water. Instead, the two wells near Cayuga, Ind., that supply Georgetown with water will now provide up to 500,000 gallons of water a day to the mine to be used for washing the coal and for the mining process.
Sunrise Coal expects to need about 300,000 gallons a day for the first few years while the mine is being developed, and then up to 500,000 gallons a day after that. Under the contract, the company will pay the city the residential rate for water for the first year, and a rate for the next 29 years will be negotiated within 90 days.
The company will also pay for about $1 million in infrastructure improvements to the city's water system to get the water to the proposed mine, which will be located about 5 miles from Homer.
Suzanne Jaworowski, the communications director for Sunrise Coal, said that the new mine will employ about 300 people when it reaches full capacity.
"This is a real win-win situation," Jaworowski said. "The mine gets a reliable source of water, and the city gets revenue and some infrastructure improvements."
City council members said they had spoken with coal company officials about the deal for weeks and were pleased with the arrangements.
"This is good for Georgetown," Mayor Kay Sanders said.