Reporter is all wet


To the Editor:
When Joe Moskowitz ran into me at the checkout of a local establishment, he asked me to clarify a “nasty rumor” regarding the Arkville water system. I asked what he meant, and he responded that he had heard that the new well was to be a secondary well and not the primary well for the hamlet. I told him that that was correct and he asked if he could talk to me about that for an article he was writing. I told him that was fine and to get a hold of me to set up a time. That never happened.
If I had actually been afforded more than the 30 second “interview” that day, I would have supplied him with the information needed to write a factual article.

Let me clarify and elaborate on a few things. I am the Water Superintendent, not the Water
Commissioner, for the Arkville Water District. The Pavilion Road well will be up and running in a few weeks, not this week.

At no point in time has the filter system been “overwhelmed” by anything it is filtering. I have taken samples regularly for potability and arsenic and never has the water been unable to meet and exceed the EPA and DOH requirements. The system is doing exactly what it’s installed to do. The matter of the odor in the water was indeed an over-chlorination issue, which we are still working out the details for a permanent fix. The Ph issue that is mentioned is a simple replacement of a probe that has a greater pressure capacity than the current probe and will be about an hour-long project once all the pieces have arrived. We currently treat for a high Ph with carbon dioxide gas, lowering it for the filtration process. We are replacing the probe to prevent a possible failure in the future.

Yes, the new well will cost more to operate because of the filtration. Joe’s article implies that the new well was always planned to be a backup. That is false. How could anyone have predicted what operation costs would be without knowing the quality and quantity of your new well. But now that we have two wells for the hamlet, one must be considered primary and one secondary. When this project was started, before I was water superintendent, the focus was on a new primary well for Arkville. Things changed mid project, as it was discovered that a filtration system was required for the new well due to slightly elevated arsenic levels in the water. The new well produces about 100 gallons per minute. The Pavilion Road well, which supplies just under 300 gallons per minute, has never tested positive for arsenic and requires minimal treatment. It became obvious which well should be considered the primary source. The wells will alternate between each other on a regular basis. This does not change the status of having a primary water source and a secondary source. And yes, there were discussions with the board regarding this, several years ago.

The location of well, which was chosen by a process of elimination of many factors, was indeed chosen by several groups, including the New York Rural Water Association, a hydro-geologist, the Town of Middletown, and the engineer. Not the engineer alone. It was not the only site investigated for the well. There were two other possible sites noted in the process.
There are no secrets here, or scandals to be created here, as Joe’s article may have implied, it’s just really poor reporting.

Terry Johnson, Water Superintendent
Water District