Should our drinking water become campaign rhetoric? | May 14, 2007

Should our drinking water become campaign rhetoric? (May 14, 2007)

The Village of Tuxedo Park Water Department ensures that our water supply is safe and complies with all state regulations. Mayor McFadden needlessly worried residents about our water in a recent commentary on his election campaign site:

“…For example, we all know how important it is to protecting our lake, but we do little or nothing about monitoring the pesticides and fertilizers and other contaminants that leach into the lake water each year. It’s very clear that the lake is being affected by elements that cause an overgrowth of algae. It’s hard to legislate the type of fertilizers that can be used, but maybe not (since this is our drinking water)…”

Here are the facts as relayed by the Village Office and the Water department:

The Village Water Department regularly takes water samples from Tuxedo Lake.  The samples are delivered to a certified lab, and the test results are sent to both to the Village and to the Orange County Health Dept.  The water tests regularly pass the requirements of the Orange County Health Dept.

With regard to algae, the Water Department monitors all three lakes for algae control during the summer months.  Because of the healthy aquatic life and the additional hours of sunlight, by the end of August algae is prevalent on all the lakes.  The Water Department treats the lakes with an approved chemical to limit algae growth.  This is primarily done to reduce the chance that algae will plug the filters in the Water Plant.  However, several years ago, as part of upgrading the Water Plant, the pipe that supplies water from Tuxedo Lake to the Water Plant was significantly lowered to supply less turbid water to the filters.  The pipe is approx 27’ below the water level of Tuxedo Lake.  The now lowered pipe nearly eliminates the chance of drawing in any algae from the top of Tuxedo Lake.

In addition, for many years, those that regularly fish on the lakes believe that treating the lakes for algae forces the fish deeper under the water. Because there is less of a threat of clogging the filters at the Water Plant, and increase pressure from the fishermen to not treat the lake, the Water Department has spent less time and money treating all three lakes for algae.  This is not to say the lakes are never treated, but we have less reason to do so.

One would attribute any perceived additional algae growth to the fact that we are not treating Tuxedo Lake for algae as often as we have in the past. 

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