At its April 17 meeting, the Rose town board passed the Wellhead Protection Act for 2018. This local law has been under development for over six years, has been reviewed by the planning board at least twice and the town board many more times than that. There have been at least three public hearings on the matter to listen to input from the public.
This local law is the product of a professional study by a hydraulic engineer in order to identify the area of land that feeds water to our drinking water wells. It defines some “time-of-travel zones” that are important to protect. The idea is to prevent the concentration of materials or activities in these zones that could lead to the spillage of contaminants into the groundwater that could lead to the water wells. This new local law prohibits certain structures and activities that could easily lead to contamination of the drinking water aquifer. As written and adopted, however, it does not restrict any currant farm activity nor prevent the normal farming activities that are currently in practice. This includes application of manure to the fields as fertilizer for that year’s crop.
The adoption of this local law represents a policy decision that recognizes the growing value of water and seeks to protect the drinking water supply for the community — including many farms — so that we can pass on this valuable asset to future generations.
Bad news — the Public Service Commission has ruled against us and in favor of the big electricity companies, saying that our monetizing approach to the generation of solar power (the method with the most value to us) will not be used. This is a real game changer, and will force us to completely reconsider the solar project. We will soon be receiving additional information from the solar vendor, and will consider this as soon as possible. I don’t know what the outcome will be. Stay tuned.