At the end of November, the Catskill Aqueduct had to begin its 10-week long shutdown for scheduled repairs. This meant that the Town of New Windsor’s water customers would receive a blend of water from the Delaware Aqueduct, through interconnects with the Town of Newburgh, and the Town of New Windsor wells – including Butterhill and Kroll wells.
While the scheduled shutdown is approaching its end in February, customers have complained about their water. It isn’t a particularly new situation, given the Town of New Windsor has been dealing with particularly hard water from the Butterhill well for quite some time.
One customer, Pam Pal, said she’s seen “a lot of sediment” and “a very strong smell of chlorine” from the water.
“We don’t drink the water after filtering anymore,” said Pal. “We have to buy water since pulling us off the aqueduct. Not many people drink the water here; they’re not comfortable with it.”
Town Supervisor George Meyers explained that although there is nothing wrong with the water and it is meeting local, state and federal requirements, the chlorine smell that some are experiencing might be due to the Town of Newburgh’s supply from Chadwick Lake, which had more chlorine than what the Town of New Windsor’s supply is used to. Meyers said it is also dependent on where you are in the distribution system.
“Now they’re using the Delaware Aqueduct, so I haven’t heard those complaints in a week or so,” said Meyers about the chlorine smell.
Meyers said there are no other alternatives to the town’s water supply and that they are utilizing all of the options available.
“The water from the Butterhill wells is hard and the water from the Catskill Aqueduct is very soft,” said Meyers. “People see that difference right away – one is one extreme and the other is the other extreme.”
While he said the water is “tested all the time” and continues to meet standards across the board. Their latest test was during August of this year, according to what is posted on the Town of New Windsor website.
“The Butterhill well has a problem with the hardness and I want to use it as little as possible,” said Meyers. “We have to keep the wells operated because it’s the backup for the town.”
Additionally, later this year, the Delaware Aqueduct will also see a shutdown, where the Town of New Windsor will then support the Town of Newburgh through the Catskill Aqueduct and Butterhill wells.
“We’re in a bad spot with water, there is no question about it,” said Meyers. “The choice is that or no water.”
Meyers suspects that once the town goes back on the Catskill Aqueduct in February, there will not be nearly as many complaints from residents.
“I hate the idea of having to haul water from the store every couple of days just so we can drink it – we pay enough for our town water,” said Pal. “We shouldn’t have to resort to purchasing it at the store.”
According to Meyers, the water tax is $6.90 per thousand gallons.
“My water bill is something in the neighborhood of $120 every three months,” said Meyers who is also a resident of New Windsor and buys bottled water himself and always has.
The unnamed individual who runs the Concerned Citizens For New Windsor, NY Facebook page said they’ve received “dozens and dozens” of complaints about the town’s water quality.
“It makes me wonder what I’m showering in,” said the unnamed person. “For a little while there black sediment was collecting in the toilets.”
“I am honestly scared of the water quality and want to push the town to really clean up the mess it created,” they continued. “Mr. Meyers thinking it is okay to only test poisoned water four times a year is a bit shocking.”