Fate of village water decided — at least for now

11 May

A battle royale brewing this week over the future of the Webster Village water supply seemed to fizzle out a bit at last night’s Village Board meeting.

At issue is the quality of the village’s water supply and what — if anything — should be done about it. On one side of the argument is a vocal group of residents called Webster Village Residents for Monroe County Water. At a community meeting earlier this week, the group presented its position that village water is not only caustic, but downright unhealthy, and the village should make the switch to service from the Monroe County Water Authority (MCWA). On the other side is the Webster Village Board, which appeared poised to authorize a controversial reverse osmosis water softening system.

The issue was expected to come to a head at last night’s Village Board meeting, when Mayor Peter Elder and the village trustees were planning to take a final vote. About 30 people in the audience waited patiently through several procedural matters, noticeably perking up a bit when the discussion finally came around to water. Everyone was curious to see what the final verdict would be: reverse osmosis or MCWA.

Two resolutions were presented. The first authorized the board to contract with MCWA to provide village water. The second authorized the village to bond out a reverse osmosis system. Neither resolution was approved. (Read today’s Democrat and Chronicle article about the meeting here.)

So in the end, after more than two years of surveys and studies, meetings and public comments, the board decided to do nothing. At least for now, village residents will continue to get their water from the village, from the Dewitt Road well fields, from the Irondo-Genesee aquifer.

I think the non-vote came as somewhat of a surprise to many in the audience (including myself) who really expected the board to press forward with the reverse osmosis plan. Not having to fight tooth-and-nail against RO was a victory for the Webster Village Residents group. But the village’s decision to keep the status quo fell short of the group’s ultimate goal of ditching the wells and switching to Monroe County water.

After the meeting, Webster Village Residents representative John Cahill admitted he didn’t really know what the group’s next step would be. But he made it clear they would continue to fight the fight, and try to convince village leaders to do what they say most village residents really want:  switch to Monroe County water.

It’s a fight they pledge to take all the way to next March’s village elections, if they need to.


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