Water Supply of 18,000 Threatened by Government with No Pride

Water Supply of 18,000 Threatened by Government with No Pride


By Michael Boyajian


The Town of Fishkill established a Master Building plan a few years back that called for maximum building in the town over a three year period.  The problem is that the plan did not take into account threats it posed to the pure water supply enjoyed by 18,000, perhaps even 55,000, people in the area going beyond Fishkill into nearby Philipstown and East Fishkill.


Local resident and environmental activist, Dr. David Eberle, reports that the Town pushed through the Master Plan allowing building plans to bypass normal procedures of going before the zoning and planning boards for approval.  According to Dr. Eberle this benefits a major donor to the local Republican Party, Montfort, which wishes to build 200 mobile homes over the source of this water supply, the Clove Creek aquifer which is a “sweet spot” in the water system.  The entire Town government is comprised of Republicans.


Dr. Eberle goes onto to say that the proposed building site is made up of a sandy loam soil mix and that the water table is just a few feet below the surface putting it at risk from contamination from road salt, pesticides and fertilizer.  Some speculate that run off from the parking might also allow radiator fluid and motor oil to leech into the aquifer further jeopardizing the drinking water of thousands.


The news doesn’t stop there.  The nearby Fishkill Creek aquifer is already contaminated by high levels of salt and depends on an inflow of Clove Creek water to dilute its contamination down to acceptable levels.  If Clove Creek becomes contaminated then the Fishkill Creek aquifer will lose this precious inflow threatening the water supply of many other residents.  In fact, Dr. Eberle reports that the Clove Creek aquifer is the only part of the Fishkill Watershed aquifer that is not polluted.   

Eberle says, “The consequence is that a small community in a bucolic setting is being transformed into a high density area with all the attendant problems.”  Resistance to the plan is growing among environmental groups like the Fishkill Ridge Caretakers, the Beacon Sloop Club and Clearwater.  Community leaders have reached out to Riverkeeper for help as well. 


In addition to environmental hazards there is a possible violation of the grave sites of Revolutionary War patriots.  A local history group, the Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot, worry that part of the Fishkill Supply Depot, New York’s Valley Forge, may be disturbed by the building plan.  Upwards of a thousand Revolutionary War soldiers graves were recently discovered on Depot land.


The problem is that the Town operates without opposition and clandestinely, keeping constituents in the dark.  Community organizer Ozzy Albra said that during one public meeting the board went behind closed doors in an “executive session” returning only after those in attendance had left thinking the meeting was over.   As a result, working class residents, even with their water supply being threatened, go to the polls each Election Day and vote back in the very people who are destroying their way of life and the water supply of the biggest investment in their lives, their homes. 


The question is how will these voters react when the entire water supply is contaminated and their neighborhoods are turned into the Love Canal of 2010?  Love Canal you may recall was an entire community in the Buffalo area that was declared unfit for human habitation and shut down because of pollution  thirty some odd years ago.  Residents there were forced to leave their homes forever because of that pollution event.  Some say residents may have regrets and anger one day but by then government officials will be living in Florida growing fat poolside as Fishkill residents find themselves homeless making this a horror story created by a government that has no pride.