HONESDALE-The monthly meeting of the Wayne County Conservation District brought with it some great news: The awarding of the Baseline Water Quality Data Grant. Jamie Knecht, watershed specialist, said the conservation district was awarded the grant and was notified on Nov. 21. “We received the full amount requested of $250,000,” she said. The grant comes through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). The conservation district applied for the grant in partnership with the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Testing will be done throughout the county and will also cover wells on a voluntary basis. The total grant money will be $287,500 with USGS matching $37,500. “There's currently no groundwater or geological data on the county, which is part of the reason they want to do the study,” Knecht said previously. “I think it will be very beneficial to the county.” Knecht stated there will be a scope of work agreement and they will be researching what wells will be eligible “through this type of funding.” “We will approach the owners of the eligible wells and they can participate on a volunteer basis,” she said. “We will test the water, send samples and go from there.” The testing will be spaced throughout the county. Homeowners who built wells after 1984 had to submit information to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Knecht said that “theoretically” they could test wells that have been recently put in. “This isn't just for gas drilling,” she said. It has also been determined that 20 percent of drinking water wells “don't meet the drinking water standards.” Other business District manager Bob Muller said “97 percent” of tilled land crop acres have erosion control setup, adding that it's a good thing to see. “It's important it was determined that 97 percent volunteered to do so,” said Commissioner Brian Smith. “That helps decrease the penalization process. I hope this goes a long way and that DEP will say 'Hey, let's continue to work with people and not try to force regulations down their throats.'” • Muller brought up the transportation bill that was recently passed and said it “covers more than just bridges and roads.” “Like it or not, it means increased funding for repairs and upgrades of the state's highways, roads and bridges,” he said. “For our office it means an increase in funding for the Dirt and Gravel Road Program.” He said the funding for dirt roads has gone from $5 million to $35 million, which will be distributed to “fund several categories in dirt roads.” These include $28 million to conservation districts, $8 million for low volume roads and $7 million to DCNR. Muller said how the funding will be distributed and what percentage each county will get will be “decided in the near future.”