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[SITEMAP][Aquifers] [Open Space] [Planning] [Storm Water] [Water Quality] [Underground Tanks] [Water Districts]

Water Goals

To protect the quality and quantity of water available for generations to come.


  • Heighten public awareness of the homeowner’s role in maintaining water quality
  • Avoid pollution of wells and ground water
  • Ensure the long term availability of potable water

Without a doubt, the issue that concerned most residents in town turned out to be the quantity and quality of our water.

Residents expressed concern about the possible impact future development might have on the quality and quantity of the Town’s water supply.

They expressed concern about wastewater generated by future development, storm water run-off, underground oil tanks, and failures of existing septic systems polluting the aquifer.

The CAC has invested significant time and energy studying our water supply. You can read their studies – Aquifer Protection Study and Groundwater Protection Plan for the Old Hurley Area for details. Note: these are large PDFs. We should pursue similar Groundwater Protection Plans for other sections of town.

The Pressures on Our Water Supply

Water Chart

Overall, water quantity proves not to be an issue.
In some cases residents report wells running dry during drought periods. These appear to be shallow wells, usually less than 150 feet – some hand dug generations ago. Problems with these wells can be solved by drilling deeper.

In a very few areas areas, notably Ohayo Mountain and other rocky areas at high altitudes, homeowners must drill hundreds of feet to reach the water table. A new well in the neighborhood can impact others. Zoning density in these areas should be reviewed and site plan review should include consideration of the impact of additional wells in the area.

New multi-unit developments may impact the wells of those around them. Well testing should include measurements from surrounding wells.

Water quality is a more complex issue

In West Hurley between Zena and Route 375 wells are shallow and septic systems are old. Cross contamination has become an issue in some areas. Both water and sewer districts present significant costs that must be borne by the residents within the district.

To be prudent the town should explore the feasibility of a new West Hurley Water District.

A West Hurley water district may prove to be very expensive. The soil depth to bedrock in many parts of West Hurley measures around 12 inches. We recommend that residents there be apprised of the potential costs along with the benefits.

In addition, residents should be encouraged, through a targeted public education campaign, to take preventive steps like annual testing and treatment of their wells, water conservation measures to reduce waste water, and regular septic pumping.

Many, if not most, water quality issues can be managed through chemical treatment. The exception is contamination by hazardous materials – oil leaking from residential underground tanks, chemical spills on our highways, and brown fields from gas stations and industrial sites. We need to encourage the removal of underground tanks and develop a tracking system for spills.

Some of our aquifers are of a type that are particularly vulnerable to contamination. The water studies describe this in detail. There will be increasing pressure to build on several large parcels and many smaller ones. The build out must be planned carefully with water protection as a key goal.

Action Plans
As a result of the CAC studies there are several recommendations regarding aquifer protection, contamination from oil and other hazardous materials, and new development. The Comprehensive Plan Committee has added additional recommendations dealing with the feasibility of water districts and the implementation of storm water plans.

We thank the CAC for the public education it has started and recommend they continue addressing residents' roles and responsibilities in safeguarding our water supply.

Water Related Recommendations

Details supporting the following recommendations can be found in the CAC reports [see links above] and through the links provided.

• Establish an aquifer protection overlay district in Old Hurley

• Map the aquifers and develop Groundwater Protection Plans for other areas of the town

• Revise land use regulations to include protective zoning and conservation subdivision requirements to protect the aquifer; consider zoning density changes in areas known to have water shortages.

• Extend site plan review of multi-residential projects, commercial and industrial projects to include pertinent water related hydrogeologic testing and other pertinent water-related data

• Maintain an on-going water protection public education program [link to Public Education page]

• Develop a system to monitor all petroleum/hazardous material spills and contamination[link to underground tanks page and the environment page]

• Prohibit the installation of residential underground oil tanks and inventory those in use. Encourage removal of underground tanks.

Storm water – maintain an up-to-date inventory of storm water runoff problems and a separate capital improvement fund. Establish criteria for setting priority. Provide an annual update to the community.

• West Hurley– explore the feasibility of a water district between Zena and 375. Encourage homeowners to manage their septic systems properly.