7th boil water advisory prompts questions on Washington County pipelines


WASHINGTON COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The water is back on and safe to drink again after a water main break in the Village of Whitehall Thursday night.

Mayor Phil Smith says this particular break off North Street was a relatively easy fix, but unfortunately, it’s a regular occurrence.

“We’ve certainly had probably half a dozen [boil water advisories] this year, and they always come at the worst times, says Mayor Smith.

He says the Village of Whitehall is struggling to keep their water quality and pipelines in check.

“Some of them are 100 years old and you just can’t tell when they’re gonna let go, Smith explains to NEWS10 ABC’s Mikhaela Singleton.

Deputy Director Tim Hardy reports the Washington County Department of Public Safety sent out seven boil water advisories since January. He adds there may be even more that the individual municipalities chose to send their own warnings on instead of using the Public Safety Department system.

Mayor Smith says he can trace his village’s frustrations to one thing.

“It comes down to coming up with the funding. I mean, we have a very high poverty rate in Whitehall. We’re a poor community, so we can’t just go out and raise taxes to do this,” he explains.

Smith adds his village already applied for federal emergency grant funds to fix water piping problems and was denied. It’s now a waiting game to see what comes of the half a dozen other programs they’ve applied for.

“Anything the legislature or local government officials, if they can help us, you know, we’re dependent on it,” he says.

Washington County representatives attended a New York State Assembly Minority Task Force on Water Quality forum at Lake George back in October. The task force comprises lawmakers from around the state who evaluate “the condition of the state’s water sources, address emerging contaminants, and prioritize and fix aging infrastructure.”

The task will convene for a forum in New York City on Monday. News 10 asked the office for a response to the issues in Washington County. Stay tuned on this page for an update.

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