No Resolution Yet for Homeowners With Contaminated Water

Posted in: Drinking Water News, United States Water News, Water Contamination
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Darlene Bartley fills up a pot of with bottled water that she and her husband, Clifford, use in their home on Police Drive in the Town of Goshen. Photo Credit: Times Herald-Record File Photo

Article courtesy of Gittel Evangelist Times Herald-Record| Aug 22,2015 | Record Online |Shared as Educational Material

GOSHEN — After a glimmer of hope that three Town of Goshen families whose wells were contaminated two decades ago would soon be hooked up to a new water source, Orange County officials are back to square one in resolving the issue.

County officials previously had been in negotiations with the Village of Goshen to provide an alternate source of water for three homes on Police Drive as well as the Entenmann’s Bakery Outlet. A judge ruled earlier this year the county was solely responsible for a fuel spill that contaminated the groundwater supply there with a known carcinogen. The contamination was discovered more than 10 years ago.

A tangle of litigation by the Bartley, Dolichni and Cockburn families and a series of governmental hitches have frustrated attempts to provide an alternate water source.  Damages will be awarded by a Supreme Court jury in December, said Mary Marzolla, an associate attorney with Feerick Lynch MacCartney, which is representing the three families.

After negotiations between the county and the Village of Goshen hit a snag, the county reached an agreement with the Village of Florida this year to tap into a nearby water line that also supplies Orange County Jail. But water at the tap site is not potable due to elevated levels of haloacetic acid, said Orange County spokesman Justin Rodriguez.

“It is not a problem at the jail because there is a filtration system there,” Rodriguez said. “So we have two paths here. First, our preferred one would be for the county to (revisit) the Goshen water for the three homes … Second, we could utilize the Florida water, but increase the usage base to ensure it is potable.”

Negotiations between the county and the Village of Goshen have now been reopened to supply the three homes, he said, but the county would seek a separate agreement, “probably with another municipality,” for Milmar Food Group and other commercial properties nearby.

Goshen Mayor Kyle Roddey said he hoped the agreement could be hammered out within weeks. “We just need to ensure that village taxpayers are protected and that the county will be responsible for maintaining the infrastructure,” Roddey said.

The Orange County Water Authority has set aside $300,000 for the project. Homeowner Darlene Bartley remained frustrated by the setback. “I just don’t understand why this should take 11 years to do the right thing,” she said.

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