LET IT FLOW
New Windsor Breaks Ground at Butterhill Wells Water Filtration Plant
By Edie Johnson
Beneath a natural earthen shelf about 200 feet from the point where the Moodna Creek winds its way through a deep ravine toward the Hudson River, there is now a deep hole that holds the footings for a water filtration plant that along with 3 high producing wells will be able to pump 6.4 million gallons of water per day. It’s a beautiful thing, especially for residents of New Windsor and Newburgh who have spent much of the past year wondering when and whether they will ever have a clean and plentiful supply of water again. Just this week area residents were told that free blood testing will be extended to test for contaminants they may have in their blood from PFOS/PFOA contaminated water that tainted their groundwater supply and contaminated their main water supply reservoir and caused health concerns along the toxic trail all the way from Stewart AFB southward to the area of Beaver Dam Lake in New Windsor/Blooming Grove.
But these three new wells are fed by water from the aquifer and groundwater refreshed by the Moodna Creek, water that has percolated and been cleansed as it flows down from the pristine Schunnemunk Ridge and long the valley beneath it.
The idea of a new high producing well, or better yet wells, came from New Windsor Supervisor, George Green over 10 years go. He, had not only the foresight to know that new development in the area would require additional water resources and a backup plan to help cover the Catskills Aqueduct, but thought to partner with other area officials and leave no stone unturned in their search for the right spot that would be both plentiful and pure. Green said they traveled from site to site over the 10 year interim, but each site brought insurmountable issues, like the spot they found right at Plum Point near the Hudson River in Cornwall-On-Hudson. Clean water was plentiful there, but the prospect of laying the pipelines to connect it to New Windsor and Newburgh was deemed unrealistic.
But the location by the bridge over Forge Hill Road, nearly adjacent to the Moodna, was found to have abundant water, as fresh and as clean as the ridges and valley that surround it. While the laying of pipes to join the main trunks will take time and effort, it’s a challenge within reason. The three wells are not likely to be needed to operate at once, their use planned to be rotated as needed. Supervisor Gil Piaquadio from the Town of Newburgh and Richard Randazzo from the Town of Cornwall were there to celebrate as well. They all gave high praise to the McGooey, Hauser, Edsall engineering team that did the construction work, especially to Dick McGooey and Mark Edsall who led much of the work, as well as hydrogeologist Frank Getchell and Todd Diorio, president of the Hudson Valley Building and Construction Trades Council which negotiated what they said was one of the speediest PLA’s (Project Labor Agreements) in recent memory, thus ensuring that local construction workers would benefit by participating in the project. All agreed they could not be happier for the massive accomplishment.
These wells and the filtration plant will be critical to support the water needs of the region when the Catskills Aqueduct is closed for necessary repairs sometime in the near future. With the Aqueduct already leaking significantly in numerous places, the need is urgent.
The Butterhill Filtration Plant is estimated to be completed in the Spring of 2018. These 3 new wells along with proper filtration will ensure that there will be sufficient water to help meet the needs of all 4 municipalities for the foreseeable future (New Windsor, City of Newburgh, Town of Newburgh and Cornwall).
Newburgh City Manager, Michael Ciaravino Asks DOH to Improve Outreach On Blood Testing of PFOS/PFOA
Meanwhile, City Manager Michael Ciaravino has reached out to the New York State Department of Health to step up to the challenge of completing blood testing on Newburgh residents. In a letter this week (which will be published in full in next week’s Orange County Post), Ciaravino said “To date only 2,200 people have had their blood tested, a mere 7.8% of the City of Newburgh’s population. The figure drops even further when those affected who live outside of the City are considered.” He is urging the state to provide a mobile testing unit and a media campaign, and added that “Simply put, outreach efforts must be far more robust, longer-term and population-wide in order to be effective and save lives.