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Water Advisory Committee seeks input on code changes

JULIE LANE PHOTO Ken Pysher of the Water Advisory Committee questioned Monday if the town code is lacking in restrictions on constructing pools near wetlands.

JULIE LANE PHOTO
Ken Pysher of the Water Advisory Committee questioned Monday if the town code is lacking in restrictions on constructing pools near wetlands.

The Water Advisory Committee wants to meet with the Conservation Advisory Council to determine if there’s a hole in the town code that needs to be plugged.

The subject is swimming pool construction in areas adjacent to wetlands.

WAC member Ken Pysher brought the problem to the attention of his colleagues Monday night. He noted  that there’s nothing in the code to stop someone from digging a hole and pumping out as much water as they want, even though the action can result in salting of nearby wells.

Suffolk County and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation all approve construction of a swimming pool near wetlands. They fail to consider that during the construction process, water is pouring out, posing the potential for neighbors to end up with high chloride levels in their wells.

Mr. Pysher suspects the same thing could happen to a neighbor of a property owner with an irrigation systems if that person is a “water hog.”

It’s a problem Mr. Pysher has investigated, discovering various solutions that could cost him, as a neighbor, up to $4,000. At the same time, the problem might correct itself, but that could take a year or more.

And even if it does correct itself, it would likely salt again easily in the future, WAC Chairman Hoot Sherman said.

By getting two committees together to discuss the issue, Mr. Sherman said they might be able to arrive at suggestions to share with the Town Board for code changes.

BUDGET
The WAC is submitting a budget request to the town for $42,136. The 2015 WAC budget is $18,122. The spike in the request for funds is due to members wanting more attention paid to water quality testing.

Supervisor Jim Dougherty has been outspoken about that need, but just how much money the Town Board decides to allocate remains to be seen since budget hearings haven’t yet begun.

“People are seeing water quality rise to the top of the agenda,” WAC member Peter Grand said.

The committee hasn’t been asked to weigh in on the discussion about proportional sizes of houses on lots, but members do hope the Town Board will consider such factors as the number of bedrooms a house has since that generally is an indication of the number of residents and potential water use.

NO CRISIS WITH WATER QUANTITY
Despite the August report showing water levels down in all test wells, Mr. Pysher noted that it’s the end of the tourist season with less demand for water. Plus, the town has had about four inches of rain in the last week, so it’s a good start to the season when the aquifer recharges.

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