The exact words may not have been spoken, but the message was clear for Town of Batavia residents Wednesday evening: Get on public water.
No matter how much you like your well water, there's no way to guarantee it will remain safe.
"We want to be sure people understand that those are three tests and those are three bad contaminates (e-coli, coliform and nitrates), but there is a concern you should have on other items possibly getting in (your water)," said town engineer Steve Mountain.
The tests for e-coli, coliform and nitrates are quick and easy, but Mountain's message was, if those containments can reach well water, so can other contaminates.
Once a well is shown to be susceptible to contamination from surface water -- which the tests for those three substances prove -- then the well should really be considered unsafe.
Tests of wells around the town found that containments from manure as well as human waste is getting into the ground water, and when members of the 100-person audience at Wednesday's meeting wanted information on how to trace the source to agriculture, Town Supervisor Greg Post suggested, gently, they were looking in the wrong direction.
“If there’s a blend of both (human and agricutlure), it really doesn’t matter," Post said. "The water’s not safe.”
Of the 38 wells tested in the Bank Street Road, State Street Road, Batavia-Elba Townline Road area, 14 tested positive for bacteria and 11 of 13 tested positive for unsafe levels of nitrates.
In the rest of the town, 11 of 52 tested positive for bacteria and 28 of 47 for nitrates.
The results show that Town of Batavia wells are susceptible to contamination from surface water.
Illustrating the point from the audience Wednesday night was Harlo Towner, a Batavia-Elba Townline Road resident who said his well water is completely unusable. He showers at the YMCA or his daughter's house in West Batavia, and when he comes in from gardening, he goes through a regime of anti-bacterial hand washing.
It's been that way for years.
He blames, in part, pesticide planes from the airport.
He said growing up his daughters had stomach problems and rashes that went away when they left for college.
For the past five years, he's been battling cancer. He doesn't think it's a coincidence.
"It's a really bad situation," he said. "We really need water bad. I think everybody on the road signed up for it."
Part of tonight's presentation included Mountain explaining how residents can get on public water, which consists of creating water districts.
There are grants available to help pay for the creation of water districts, but residents can expect to pay in the neighborhood of $700 per year for public water once a district is created, Mountain said.
Photo: Towner is in the center of the picture.