Ballston Board Shuts Down County Water; Public Never in Danger
BALLSTON – The Ballston Town Board voted at its Tuesday, October 8 meeting to suspend taking in water from the Saratoga County Water Authority. As of Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. the county water was shut off pursuant to that vote.
The town is now receiving water from the Town of Glenville in Schenectady County until further notice. Prior to this board action, Ballston had already been purchasing about 25-30 percent of its water from Glenville, or about 100,000 gallons per day, according to town Water Superintendent Joseph Whalen.
Whalen wanted to assure the public that they were never in any danger at any time.
“We take samples of all our water, all the time.” He said. “We always act well on the side of caution in the public interest.”
His department was aware of a contaminant problem at the county and was monitoring quarterly sample results.
“When the average levels of contaminants exceeded, even slightly, recommended levels, as they did for chlorination by-products and lead, my department has the authority to act proactively before a town board vote, and we did just that.”
The shutdown of county water at the town of Ballston was actually a two-stage process. Whalen, upon reviewing those latest testing levels, immediately reversed the proportions of water that Ballston procured—a 75/25 percentage of water in favor of the county became a 75/25 percent mix with the majority coming from Glenville in advance of the town board vote. Because the levels were above the recommended standards, even a small amount for a brief period of time, that is considered a violation that requires a public notification.
The town board voted subsequently to make it 100 percent from Glenville.
“The town board acted appropriately, given the parameters they work with and the time frame involved,” Whalen said. “But I believe that there has been a lot of misinformation put out in the media and elsewhere.”
“I understand this can sound scary—resident’s turn on their tap and they expect a certain result, as they have a right to—but the situation has been made to sound worse than it ever was, or ever will be for that matter. Again, I want to emphasize that my department and the town board acted several steps on the side of caution, and the public was never close to being in any peril.”
When asked what it would take to get the Town of Ballston to resume purchasing water from the county authority, Whalen said succinctly, “A lot of testing.” Over the period of the next few weeks, however, he expects that the county water will test much better. “They have certainly been aware that they have a problem, and I know they are working on it.”