Water, water everywhere, but can you drink it?

6 May

Click on the photo to read the D&C article

If you still get the Sunday print edition of the Democrat and Chronicle, I’m sure you saw the big front-page article about the controversy in Webster over its water distribution system. If you didn’t see it, click here for the online version, which also contains some video statements from Mayor Elder and Webster resident John Cahill.

Reporter Steve Orr did a nice job telling both sides of the issue. But I did wonder why the only person he quoted still “loyal to the village supply” was Jake Swingly, former mayor and current public works superintendent (i.e., in charge of the village’s water services).

Basically, the issue is this: Webster Village’s water supply is drawn from wells tapping into the Irondogenesee aquifer that lies below Irondequoit Bay and Irondequoit Creek. Webster is the last village in Monroe County to provide its own water supply, a fact which appears to be a source of pride for village officials. However, the water is very hard, and residents have been complaining about it for years. Orr writes,

But increasingly, consumers find village water unappealing. It’s free of chemical and bacterial contamination, but is so loaded with minerals that it clogs appliances, stains plumbing and is too salty for some to safely drink. Many village residents spend hundreds of dollars a year on home filters, softeners and purifiers to make their water usable.

So for a while now the village has been looking at the issue and has proposed spending $4.5 million to build a new reverse osmosis water filtration plant, which (according to the article) might be put up for a referendum vote as early as July.

Opponents to that idea have been coming out in force, making public statements at the Village Board meetings, sending out emails and handing out fliers to anyone who would listen.  The better option, they say, is to finally ditch the well-water system and hook up with the Monroe County Water Authority.

The issue will come to a head this week. On Monday evening at 7 pm, the opposition group which calls itself Webster Village Residents for Monroe County Water will hold a community forum at the Webster Public Library at 7 pm.  On Thursday night the Village Board will continue its discussion at its regular meeting at 7:30 pm at the Webster Community Meeting Hall, 29 South Ave.

If you have comments on this issue, please feel free to email me at missyblog@gmail.com.

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