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
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
the potential costs along with the benefits.
In addition, residents should be encouraged, through
a targeted public education campaign, to take preventive steps
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.
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.