A private water company may be the best source of water for Stillwater next year once dredging of the Hudson River begins, U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-Greenport, said Monday.
The village’s water supply was found recently by the state Health Department to have low levels of PCB contamination, which local leaders fear will get higher next spring when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Hudson River dredging project is scheduled to get under way.
Gillibrand said the potential private sources could be in place before spring, meaning the dredging project would not need to be delayed. On Friday, she had said she would support delay if that were the only way to get safe water to residents, even though she supports the dredging project.
Gillibrand met Monday for over an hour in Clifton Park with Stillwater village and town officials, along with local leaders from Waterford, Halfmoon and other communities, and state officials from the Department of Health, Department of Environmental Conservation, attorney general’s office and governor’s office.
She got her information about potential private water sources from Stillwater town Supervisor Shawn Connelly. The companies he cited as potential sources are Saratoga Water Services and Saratoga Glen Hollow Water Supply.
Robert Iovinello, president of Saratoga Glen Hollow, said his company does have the capacity to supply Stillwater and would be interested in doing so. Alec Mackey, president of Saratoga Water Services, said the same thing last week.
Both companies have wells in the town of Stillwater. Iovinello said their wells are only about 900 feet apart.
Connelly said that according to a rough estimate from the Chazen Companies, an engineering and planning firm, it would cost about $7.5 million to hook up Stillwater to either of the private systems.
The EPA is planning to hook up Waterford and Halfmoon to the Troy water system. Waterford and Halfmoon both draw their water directly from the Hudson, and recent Health Department testing found low levels of PCB contamination in both town systems. Stillwater, which gets its water from wells, had more PCB contamination than Waterford or Halfmoon, but still well below what is officially considered an unsafe level.
Gillibrand is scheduled to meet today with EPA officials in Washington. David King, director of the EPA’s Hudson River field office, said last week that he intends to attend tonight’s informational meeting set for 7 at Stillwater High School on the PCB and water supply issue.
John Sherman, mayor of Schuylerville, which has a modern water system but, like Stillwater, draws from wells near the river, said he does not believe there are PCBs in the village’s drinking water. Sherman said he does not know if the Health Department plans to test the village’s water. If it were to get contaminated, he said, the backup supply would be from the village of Victory, which has wells farther away from the river.
Claudia Hutton, spokeswoman for the Health Department, said it plans to do testing in additional places, but declined to say if Schuylerville would be one of them. The Health Department is consulting with the EPA and is concerned about providing safe drinking water to all state residents, Hutton said, “But I can’t tell you how we get from A to B yet.”
Gillibrand said residents of affected communities, including Halfmoon and Waterford, should be provided with new water sources as soon as the dredging project starts.
Waterford is not actually in Gillibrand’s district, but town Supervisor Jack Lawler said he appreciates the congresswoman’s support. Gillibrand represents all of Saratoga County except Waterford, which is in the district of U.S. Rep. Michael McNulty, D-Green Island.