Clean Water Flows In Tompkins County

James L. Seward

October 12, 2010

Ithaca Journal

Slaterville Springs, 10/08/10 - Longtime Slaterville Springs residents remember what happened in 1990 when a bridge project over Six Mile Creek punctured their aquifer and left 15-to-20 homes with no water -- the county had to bring in a pump to supply residents with water for almost a year, said Tompkins County Legislator Frank Proto, R-Caroline and Danby.

When the Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District began work on a project to stabilize the Six Mile Creek stream bank in Slaterville Springs four years ago, their main concern was preventing erosion, said Craig Schutt, Soil and Water Conservation District manager. But engineering samples taken in the stream found that so much of the protective clay layer in the bottom of the stream had eroded, "with even one big storm, you might lose the aquifer -- and everybody's water comes from that," Schutt said.

The Soil and Water Conservation office had lined up two state and federal grants -- a $230,000 grant from the state Environmental Protection Fund, and a matching $230,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

But last fall, the project came within weeks of falling apart when "bureaucratic entanglement" in Albany held up the state money, said State Sen. Jim Seward, R-51st. The county Soil and Water office "sent out the SOS" to Seward's office, and he began making calls to the governor's office and the Department of Environmental Conservation, he said. The state money was released, the federal match came through, and the stream was re-built this year.


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