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Disabled Tank Tied To Fredonia Water Crisis

Nov 26, 2023Nov 26, 2023

Jun 9, 2023

For more than six months, the village of Fredonia's water department has been working without a back-up storage tank. At the present time, the Webster Road unit remains out of service — and is waiting for a key part that has been ordered before it can go back online.

That issue is what ultimately has led to the boil-water order for users, including those in the town of Pomfret, that was put in place by the Chautauqua County Health Department on Wednesday. Routine maintenance at the reservoir, which is feeding the village system, led to the breakdown that occurred during the afternoon.

For village officials, it is not a good look.

Less than four months ago, users faced a similar order that was due to a mechanical issue in the plant. That order lasted from Feb. 26 to March 1. This current order, if all goes accordingly, could be lifted sometime Saturday.

Though no stranger to the water crises — six since 2009 — the patience of village residents is being tested. In April, Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas offered a proposal to have the city of Dunkirk provide village residents with water through its newly refurbished and state-of-the-art treatment facility on Lake Shore Drive.

In the plan, Dunkirk would supply 1.3 million gallons of water per day to Fredonia. It would come through three connections: through the Vineyard Drive pump station the communities share, and two Route 20 linkups on either end of the village. The Route 20 infrastructure belongs to the North County Water District, but Dunkirk is the sole supplier of that. To even consider that option, a study was approved by a contentious 3-2 vote by the Village Board in May.

Meanwhile, Dunkirk water might not be able to help Fredonia as its boil order continues.

Randy Woodbury, Dunkirk Department of Public Works Director, said that "it may not help if the full Fredonia system got the turbid water as pipes still need the two days of good tests that take 24 hours for each test."

Woodbury was referring to state-mandated testing that must take place in order to lift a boil order. The order, from the Chautauqua County Health Department, noted that the testing won't start "turbidity levels have fallen to acceptable levels."

As of Wednesday night, Fredonia had not asked for water, Woodbury said. The boil order was put in place Wednesday afternoon due to unsafe turbidity in the system.

If Dunkirk did share water, contaminated Fredonia water would not get into its system because of a valve installed at the Vineyard Drive pump station, Woodbury added.

OBSERVER Reporter M.J. Stafford contributed to this article.

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For more than six months, the village of Fredonia's water department has been working without a back-up storage ...

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