Friday, March 29, 2013
Highway Garage Linked to New York Water Problems
By: Nathan Lamb
The State of New York is considering several fixes for contaminated wells near a highway maintenance garage in the town of East Fishkill, according to this story from the Poughkeepsie Journal.
The problem of unsafe levels of sodium and chloride in groundwater near the garage was discovered in 1995, and the state has funded bottled water and testing for some of the garage neighbors since then.
The State Department of Transportation (DOT) has released a draft proposal that outlined several possible fixes, including installing new wells for seven of the neighbors, relocating the garage's salt storage facility, or installing a reserve-osmosis system to treat the water. Adding new well fields was another possibility.
DOT representatives held a special meeting to outline those measures for the residents and get feedback.
Road salt has been a concern for environmental officials in recent years due to its impact on aquatic life and drinking water. A report from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services cautions that chloride is toxic to aquatic life and impacts vegetation—adding it’s completely soluble, very mobile and there’s no natural process that removes it from the environment.
That same report says sodium can be a problematic drinking water contaminant for people on low-sodium diets.
East Fishkill is a town of roughly 29,000 people, approximately 70 miles north of New York City.