New law will help protect our drinking water from blasting effects

To the Editor: 

When I ask my children, “Do you have your bottle of water?” I’m not referring to water purchased from a store. I am asking about bottles filled with tap water from our own well.  Like many families, we have been drinking the water from wells in our community for generations.

While we may not think much about it, we must keep in mind that our area is defined by karst topography, which is characterized by springs, caves, sinkholes, and a unique hydrogeology that results in aquifers that are highly productive, but extremely vulnerable to contamination.

That is why I am pleased to have co-sponsored the “Drinking Water Protection Law,” which the Albany County Legislature adopted unanimously. I am hopeful this local law will help protect public health and our drinking water from the effects of blasting, which is currently being proposed in areas of our county.

The “Drinking Water Protection Law” (Local law “B” for 2015) requires notification to residents within one mile of the blast area.  Free pre-blast well water analysis will be offered.

After the blast, any residents suspecting contamination or volume/yield reduction of their wells water, will have six months to file a complaint with the Albany County Health Department.  The department will investigate and will be able to require the blaster to perform free post-blast water analysis.

Civil penalties, up to $15,000, can be assessed.  More importantly, the blaster can be required to provide alternate water supplies to affected residents until their well-water problems are resolved.

If you have any questions or concerns or would like a copy of this law, please contact the Albany County Department of Health at 447-4698 or my office at 447-7164. You may also visit for more information.

Travis Stevens, 31st District

Albany County Legislator

Editor’s note: Travis Stevens, of Knox, is up for re-election in the fall.

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