The Montgomery Town Board is considering a long-time discussed local environmental issue: wellhead protection.
In early 2022, the Town of Montgomery Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) brought up concerns to the town board about the Tin Brook Aquifer and the Beaverdam Brook Aquifer, two aquifers that provide water to municipal and public school wells. They had asked to create Critical Environmental Areas, which are unique areas that typically need environmental protection. There hasn’t been an answer from the town on this topic until now.
When composing a new law for wellhead protection, Town Planner Maximilian Stach claimed that because of public input and other existing aquifer protection laws, that there are 34 recommendations in the resource section of the comprehensive plan. “Wellhead Protection is one, aquifer protection is another, and implementing the recommendations of the Wallkill River action plan is in there. There’s wetland protection, there’s several layers and tasks that need to be done.” said Stach.
Although it doesn’t cover all environmental issues, the addition of the Wellhead Protection law would set some new local requirements.
“When the county receives an application to permit a new public water supply well, they have a requirement for what you can do within 100 feet, within 200 feet and within 300,” said Stach.
The law would require well owners to directly own 100 feet around the well and control 200 feet. However, there’s no control over the 300-feet limitations.
“Wellhead Protection is a very focused law that’s intended to have the building inspector, when he gets an application for certain activities like salt storage [or] application of a waste product overland like manure, check before he issues a permit for those activities that there’s not a public water supply well within range,” said Stach.
Stach concludes the law introduction by stating that this is not a larger aquifer protection plan even though it was recommended. This is just a portion of it. He claims other issues needed more “assembling.”
The board passed a motion to have a public hearing for the Wellhead Protection local law on Thursday, November 3.