SENATE: ALBANY SHOULD PAY FOR ORLEANS WATER FIX

Calls for Added Funding to Include Relief for Salt-Sullied Thousand Islands Community

State Senator Patty Ritchie today announced that the Senate is calling on New York State to pay the full tab for a new municipal water line to replace salt-contaminated private wells in the Town of Orleans.

The Senate passed a budget resolution Monday that urges money be set aside for the Town of Orleans project. That provision was included at Senator Ritchie’s request.

“I’m grateful to state leaders who have stepped up to help solve the problem of contaminated water in the Town of Orleans, but Albany’s plan to make residents pay the bulk of the cost to fix a problem they didn’t create falls short,” Senator Ritchie said.

“It’s ironic that within sight of one of America’s most beautiful rivers, extreme salt contamination has hurt families and choked economic growth. Orleans residents are sick of the situation with their contaminated wells, and this new budget funding provides a means for the state to make it right and give the town access to fresh, clean water and an opportunity to grow their community and economy.”

Senator Ritchie has been working with state agencies, and representatives of the Governor’s office to pay for the new water line. The Town of Orleans has been encouraged to apply for a state grant to pay for part of the line, but the bulk of the cost will be covered by a low-interest loan that must be repaid by users.

For years, local residents have complained that road salt from a nearby DOT facility has caused the contamination of dozens of underground wells, making residents’ water all but unusable.

The Senate resolution serves as a benchmark for negotiations with the Assembly and Governor on a final budget due April 1.