July 30, 2008: Storm water is a difficult issue

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To The Editor:
If you live here, were visiting here, or had occasion to be here after the fact, you probably heard about the mini-flood that occurred on July 23. This event was just a little more than a heavy rain. Our rivers, streams and their tributaries were full and chocolate in color. The professionals call this “storm water.” This storm water carries tens, if not hundreds, of tons of soil and other debris. This can’t be good for the people at the other end of this water supply who expect a clear potable water coming from their taps!
Fact – July 23 – Trees, grasses and all other vegetation in our area are at the peak of their growth cycle. This means that the ability to absorb water and also to slow the rate of flow of the storm water along the ground surface should be at its very greatest.
Now imagine a denuded construction site comprised of tens, if not hundreds, of acres on up to 20 percent grade at elevations of 2,500 feet and more. The additional storm water “run-off,” while it can be calculated to some extent, cannot be imagined. The same construction site once completed should be benign with good water quality, but the resort roofs, walks, parking lots and roads are impervious surfaces. Not only do you have the same storm water runoff, but now you have petroleum residue from the vehicular traffic and other associated chemicals as water contaminates.
The resort people will tell you that storm water issues have been addressed and mitigated and that there are absolutely no problems. Ask an excavation contractor what they think of silt fences, storm water ponds and other means of run-off control; I hope you won’t be surprised to discover their opinion will probably be much different than the individual who sat in the office and designed the “storm water” protection plan.
Fact – the July 23rd rain event is not my opinion but is documented by the media, your neighbor or the store clerk that you bought your newspaper from. You may care little about my comments, but please listen to the people who live and work here.
The Crossroads Public Relations people and the Partners for Progress supporters continuously inundate us with hyperbolic insinuations. Could it be that they are insecure about their project due to the resignation in Albany earlier this year?

Jerry Fairbairn
Millbrook Rd., Margaretville

Editor’s Note: Mr. Fairbairn is the supervisor of the Ulster County Town of Hardenburgh.