DRINKING WATER CHALLENGES IN NEW YORK STATE
Drinking Water Challenges in New York: The Challenges of Aging Infrastructure
Office of the NY State Comptroller, Feb. 2017
DRINKING WATER THREAT TO GREAT LAKES BASIN
US Population Continues to Move Westward--Will Water from the Great Lakes Follow?
Buffalo Rising Oct 15, 202
BOTTLED WATER PLANTS
All Bottled Up: Nestle's Pursuit of Community Water
Food & Water Watch, Jan 2009
A nonprofit organization's report on the issue of commercial groundwater extraction, and how communities across the country have fought to protect their drinking water. The report is from 2009, but it is very relevant to issues in Sterling today.
Grieg, NY's Long Battle to Protect Its Water from Commercial Extraction
Tapped (2008). Documentary about Fryeburg, ME experience with the bottled water industry.
Tapped Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72MCumz5lq4
Tapped full documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzntuXdE8dY
Last Call at the Oasis (2012). Documentary. A documentary about the world's water crisis. Discusses how the western US is drying up and Great Lakes water is in the crosshairs. It also discusses pollution issues that are critical.
Here's a clip with water scientist Jay Famiglietti talking about California groundwater depletion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1s_mTSknb_k
Full documentary: https://pluto.tv/en/on-demand/movies/last-call-at-the-oasis-1-1?utm_medium=textsearch&utm_source=google
NON-PROFITS FOCUSED ON GREAT LAKES WATER ISSUES
For the Love of Water (Great Lakes non-profit): https://forloveofwater.org
A non-profit that generates a lot of good information, including great info on groundwater:
Groundwater, the 6th Great Lake https://forloveofwater.org/sixth-great-lake
Here is a summary of the ongoing saga of Mecosta County, Michigan that is having its water mined:
Freshwater Future (Great Lakes non-profit)
Provides support to grassroots activists working to preserve water resources in the Great Lakes region. Sterling Water Stewards is a 2022 Project Grant recipient.
MORE RESOURCES ABOUT GREAT LAKES AND FRESHWATER ISSUES
Here is a resource list prepared by SUNY Assistant Professor Eric Hellquist
ZONING--Wellhead Protection Overlay Districts
Regulating land use to protect public wells from groundwater contamination is often accomplished through "Overlay Zones." In the Overlay Zones, land owners are subject to additional restrictions, in addition to those that apply to the underlying zoning (agricultural, commercial, residential, etc.)
Making Use of Overlay Zones
An article explaining Overlay Zones.
Municipal Options for Land Use Control
A report explaining different options for local land use control.
Town of Rose, NY Wellhead Protection Overlay District Law
In 2018 the Town of Rose passed a law that gives local authorities increased authority over potentially polluting land uses on the land area through which contaminants are reasonably likely to move toward and reach the water wells operated by the Rose – North Rose Water District. This area, termed the "Wellhead Protection Area," was delineated in the 2011 document entitled “Source Water Protection Plan for the Rose – North Rose Water District” prepared by the New York Rural Water Association.
Kenan Baldridge Explains How Town of Rose Implemented Wellhead Protection Overlay District (Video)
Former Rose Town Supervisor Kenan Baldridge spoke at the Fair Haven Community Center on Saturday June 12, 2021.
Cazenovia, NY Village Wellhead Protection Plan
The appendix contains a proposed wellhead protection law for the Village of Cazenovia, which, in addition to prohibiting potentially polluting land uses and limiting impervious surfaces, incudes a prohibition on bulk water extraction. Cazenovia subsequently adopted the wellhead protection law, which can be found here.
Relevant Quote from the Cazenovia Plan:
"If vacant areas become developed, the amount of impervious surfaces inevitably increases. Impervious surfaces include roofs, roads, driveways, parking lots, pools, and other surfaces that do not allow precipitation and snow melt to infiltrate into the soil and reach the water table. Impervious surfaces result in water running off the land surface, directly into wetlands, ponds, and streams. As overland flow and stormwater runoff increases, so does the magnitude and frequency of flooding. Imperviousness can significantly decrease ground water recharge. This in turn reduces the amount of ground water available to local wells, and also reduces stream baseflow (that portion of streamflow that comes from ground water and not surface runoff). Also, as the volume of stormwater increases, pollutants picked up by the water have less time to settle out. These include nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen, hazardous substances and chemicals from automobiles and other sources, sediment from construction activities, and pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. The result is that these pollutants are more likely to contaminant surface waters and ground water. Recent research indicates that groundwater resources and streams can be considered stressed once the impervious coverage in an area exceeds a threshold of 10 to 15 percent."
The Town of Sterling requires land owners who want to extract water in bulk to apply for a Special Use Permit (see "Sterling Law" page.) The existing ordinance requires land owners to show their project will not have adverse effects, but it doesn't go into much detail about how the potential effects are to be determined. Communities in Maine, where there have been many legal battles between municipalities and commercial water bottlers, have tighter regulations.
Town of Rumford, ME large scale water extraction reg
This Maine township requires a project impact report from geologists or engineers, and details the information they must provide. It also requires applicants who want permission to extract bulk water to help pay for consulting geologists or engineers to help the town, if needed.
Town of Brownfield, ME protects water with model law (news article)
Town of Brownfield, ME water extraction ordinance
(the law itself)
In 2019, this small town in Maine passed an ordinance putting limits on how much water can be pumped from local wells. It also ensures the town can stop water extraction if testing demonstrates that groundwater levels are falling. In addition, the ordinance bars large-scale extraction for bottling and sale, and puts controls on water-related truck traffic.
NY Rural Water Association
Food and Water Watch
Kingston Citizens.org (Kingston, NY Citizen's Group that Fought Bottling Plant)
Click on link to access articles
Auburn Citizen Aug. 18, 2021
Local newspaper reports on Sterling Water Stewards' "Candidates' Forum"
Lakeshore News July 22, 2020
Local newspaper reports Buffalo Developer William Huntress' plans to open a water bottling plant in Sterling.
Buffalo News (2006)
Feature Article: "Developer's Success Cuts Both Ways: William Huntress is Known for a Bold Business Style that Has Inspired Both Admiration and Contempt" (2006) PDF
Buffalo News (2017)
News Article: "Feds Drop Lawsuit Against Developer Over Amherst Wetlands" PDF
The Citizen, Auburn NY, Aug 18, 2008
In 2008. David McIntyre, the previous owner of the property that Huntress purchased, sought a permission from the Town to pump Sterling's water supply for commercial purposes. (He never followed through with submitting site plans and the issue disappeared.)
Gainesville Sun (editorial) Dec 1, 2019
Gainesville, FL newspaper opposes plan increase pumping of municipal water supply for commercial bottling.