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Friday, March 21, 2014 at 10:47 am

Health Department: 15 of 31 wells tested positive for bacteria and E. coli

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, health, Oakfield, water

Press release:

Since the initiation of the Boil Water Advisory (BWA) one week ago 31 private drinking water wells have been tested, with 15 confirmed to have bacteriological contamination of coliform bacteria and E. coli. Residents who have had their water tested and confirmed positive have been notified at this time.

These organisms can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants and people with compromised immune systems. Residents in this area who are experiencing these symptoms should contact their medical provider.

The Genesee County Health Department continues to assist the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) with their investigation to determine the exact origin and extent of the contamination.

Residents near Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road east of Rt 63 and Lewiston Road south of Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road are urged to continue following the instructions below until their water can be confirmed safe to drink.

Instructions: Boil (rolling boil for one minute) tap water or use bottled water for drinking and cooking. If well water quality changes as noticed by color and/or smell, immediately stop using it for all household uses other than flushing toilets.

For additional information about a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) and how to stay safe during one, visit: http://www.readygenesee.com/BoilWaterAdvisory.pdf.

For additional information on coliform bacteria please visit:


Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 11:57 am

Several wells in Batavia-Oakfield, Lewiston Road area test positive for bacteria

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, environment, Oakfield, water

Press release:

Several of the initial water samples collected this week from private drinking water wells located near Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road -- east of Route 63, and Lewiston Road south of Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road -- have confirmed bacteriological contamination of coliform bacteria and E. coli. Residents who had their water tested and confirmed positive have been notified at this time. These organisms can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants and people with compromised immune systems. Residents in this area who are experiencing these symptoms should contact their medical provider.

Although the contamination has been confirmed, the exact origin and extent cannot be determined without further analysis, the Genesee County Health Department will assist the Department of Environmental Conservation in this process in the near future.

Impacted residents are urged to continue to follow the instructions below until their water can be confirmed safe to drink. With the extent of the contamination unknown at this time, re-occurrence of contamination is possible.

If you are living in the identified area and would like your well water tested, please contact the Genesee County Health Department at (585) 344-2580, ext. 5525. There is no charge for this testing.

Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Photos: Oakfield's new water tower rising 165 feet into the sky

post by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, Oakfield, water

Construction is well under way for the new $1.65-million water tower in Oakfield and if all goes to plan, it could be in use by this fall.

Every day there are from five to seven welders on the job constructing the 165-foot, 10-inch tower. The sections are pre-fab and then welded together on site. It took one day to raise the center column, two weeks to build the bottom half of the tank top.

The tower now acts as it's own crane to haul workers and material to the top.

Workers will begin installing the next sections of the top of the tower on Monday.

Clark Patterson Lee out of Rochester handled the design and engineering. Caldwell Industrial out of Louisville, Ky., is the construction contractor.

The pedisphere-design tank will hold 500,000 gallons of water once completed.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 4:34 pm

City's water quality report now available

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, water, Water Quality

Press release:

The City of Batavia Annual Water Quality Report for 2012 has been completed and may be viewed online at: http://www.batavianewyork.com/documents/2012WaterReport.pdf. This report contains information as to how your drinking water is produced, testing results, and other general information relating to the public water supply. Paper copies of this report are also available at City Hall.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Bethany Town Board still waiting to hear from residents on public water issue

post by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, water

So far, only about 39 property owners within a proposed area for public water have contacted Town of Bethany officials to voice their opinion on the subject.

Carl Hyde, proponent of public water for that section of the Town of Bethany, said more people need to come forward if public water is to move forward.

Of the 225 property owners affected, 30 have said yes and nine no, but the sheer number of overall respondents is not enough for the project to proceed.

Hyde is asking that residents call 343-1399 and provide town officials with a yes or no opinion along with an address.

"The town board has done all they can to this point and so have I," Hyde said. "It's up to the people to voice an opinion."

Previously: Bethany residents facing big decision over public water

Friday, February 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Bethany residents facing big decision over public water

post by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, water

Town board members in Bethany need to hear from town residents on an important topic: Do you want public water?

Eric Wies, senior associate for Clark Patterson Lee, repeated that message several times last night at a public meeting in Bethany attended by nearly 100 residents.

The town board won't go forward with a public water project unless enough residents express interest because there's no point in going forward if property owners won't eventually sign a petition in support of creating a water district.

To that end, Wies (a water project consultant) said there are a number of factors property owners must consider, beginning with the fact their annual expected cost for public water could be as much as $1,600.

The final cost won't be determined until after the town board takes the next step toward setting up one or more water districts.

Wies explained in detail how water districts are formed and funded.

There is grant money available either from the state or federal government, but according to census data, the median household income in Bethany is $58,200.

That's much too high to even discuss the possibility of a state grant and a tad too high for a USDA Rural Development grant.

If there's sufficient interest from residents to take a closer look at public water, the town board will commission a third-party household income survey.

The responses will be kept confidential and the aggregate data shared with the town board.

If it shows that the actual median household income is less than $58,000, then the town would have a shot at a USDA grant.

Such a grant could lower the annual cost for residential water to $1,000 a year on average.

Bringing public water to Bethany involves creating one or more water districts.

Each water district would borrow the money necessary to connect to a water main from either the Monroe County Water Authority or the Town of Batavia's water supply and install water lines down each roadway in the district.

Part of the annual cost for each property owner is repayment of the loan, which will take 38 years to pay off.

"We're not spending our money. We're spending your money," said Supervisor Louis J. Gayton. "We don't want to spend your money if this is something you don't want."

The loan payoff follows the property, not the current property owner.

Some of the water cost for property owners, of course, is for the water itself. There will also be a charge, mandated by the county for new water districts, to help pay for the big water line that brings water from Monroe County to Genesee County. 

Bethany water customers will pay the surcharge -- 60 cents per 1,000 gallons of water -- whether the new district(s) goes with Monroe County water or Town of Batavia water.

Wies encouraged property owners to really examine the cost of their well water.  Well water costs include pumps (and pump replacements), electricity, replacing plumbing and fixtures regularly if the water is too hard, filtration, chlorination and water safety tests.

Some residents may find they're already spending as much as $1,600 a year on water, Wies said. They just don't realize it.

"This is a decision each of you will have to make yourselves," Wies said.

Public water will also mean fire hydrants in the town and more effective firefighting.

If residents decide to push forward with a water project, then Hyde and other residents (board members can't do it) will bring a petition around to each resident. The petition will have the property owner's name on it, the parcel number and the exact anticipated cost of water for the property owner.

If the owner signs the petition, it's like a yes vote. No signature, it's a no.

Property owners holding at least 50 percent of the assessed value of all property in the district must sign the petition, but as a practical matter, property owners with more than 70 or 80 percent of assessed value must support the formation of a water district.

At 50 percent, it's much easier for one owner who objects to block formation of the district.

If there's enough support for the district, then the town must appeal to the Comptroller's Office to approve the formation of the district. The Comptroller can veto the formation of the district where the annual cost of water exceeds $685.

The issue of public water reached this point largely because of the work of Carl Hyde, the champion for public water in Bethany.

At the end of the meeting, Hyde said he's done all he can do to get the issue to this point.

"Now it's up to you," he said. "This is your decision."

Top photo: Eric Wies. First inset, town attorney David DiMatteo. Third inset, Carl Hyde.

Monday, August 29, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Village of Oakfield planning water-rate increases

post by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, Oakfield, water

Village of Oakfield residents should brace for a couple of increases in their quarterly water bills.

The first increase will be 65 cents per thousand gallons of water. That 19.4-percent increase will take the rate from $3.35 to $4.

The increase, according to Mayor Rick Pastecki, is designed to eliminate a deficit in water spending for the village.

"Basically, we found out that our rates were so low that state officials were concerned we wouldn't be able to pay back our debt," Pastecki said. "Basically, we found through the process that our rates were considered extremely reasonable, which precluded any kind of grant money."

The village needs a low-interest loan -- which has been awarded, and a grant, also awarded -- for a new water tower and transmission line.

The current water tower is well beyond its useful life and the village has been able to secure a 2.5-percent loan and a $600,000 grant, but those funds will only cover a portion of the cost of the $3.4 million project.

And that cost -- though expected to be high -- hasn't been determined yet.

To pay for the tower, another water-rate increase will be necessary, according to Pastecki, but more calculations need to be done before he can estimate the potential second rate increase.

Information for this report courtesy of Geoff Redick of WBTA.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 6:26 am

Don’t Feed Babies Fluoridated Water say NYS Health Officials

Babies fed infant formula mixed with New York’s fluoridated tap water risk developing enamel fluorosis or discolored teeth, according to the New York State Department of Health (1).

Bureaucrats fail to effectively broadcast this vital information beyond their little-read websites which places babies at unnecessary risk of developing fluoride-damaged teeth.

Fluoride chemicals are added to tap water serving 12 million New Yorkers (8.4 million in NYC) in a failed effort to reduce tooth decay. Fluoridation costs NYC about $20 million yearly.(2)

In 2006, the National Research Council (NRC) cautioned that infants can fluoride-overdose via reconstituted baby formula using “optimally” fluoridated water and risk growing white spotted, yellow, brown and/or pitted permanent teeth (enamel fluorosis). (3)

“Parents, who are concerned about the risk of enamel fluorosis, can mix liquid concentrate or powdered infant formula with water that is fluoride-free or contains low levels of fluoride. Examples are water that is labeled purified, demineralized, deionized, distilled or reverse osmosis filtered water,” according to the NYS DoH’s website (1)

Advanced enamel fluorosis (pitting, brown stains) can be reached with exclusive and/or excessive formula use over a prolonged period, they report.

“Of course, parents are concerned about possibly disfiguring their baby’s brand new teeth,” says attorney Paul Beeber, NYSCOF President. “Officials should inform new mothers about this in every way they can. Instead they omit or downplay its significance seemingly to protect fluoridation policy,” says Beeber

Over 41% of adolescents are afflicted with enamel or dental fluorosis, reports the CDC. (4)

“As a cosmetic dentist, it is not uncommon to have patients receive gorgeous porcelain veneers to correct their dental fluorosis…Costs range from several hundred dollars to well over $25,000 and need to be retreated every 10 to 20 years for life time costs which may exceed $100,000 per person, writes Bill Osmunson DDS in the British Medical Journal. (5)

Fluoride exposure is rising and causing children's tooth imperfections, ranging from white spots to brownish discolorations and pitting, according to dentist Elivir Dincer in the NYS Dental Journal. “Such changes in the tooth's appearance can affect the child's self- esteem," Dincer writes.(6)

The NYS DoH joins many fluoridation-promoting organizations which quietly advise against feeding fluoridated-water to infants, e.g., US Dept of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control, American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, Mayo Clinic, California Dental Association, Vermont Department of Health, Minnesota Dental Association, Delta Dental, and others. “All formula, either concentrates or ready-to-feed, [already] have some fluoride,” says Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, US Department of Health and Human Services.(7)

Koh advises low-fluoride bottled water be used for routinely reconstituting infant formula. “Government and University officials who protect the chemical fluoride over children’s health should be de-funded including researchers, state health commissioners and their dental bureaus,” says Beeber.

The Fairbanks, Alaska City Fluoride Task Force recommends ending fluoridation because, “This will reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of significant incidence and severity of fluorosis, especially fluorosis associated with the use of [Fairbanks fluoridated] water to prepare infant formula.” (8)

In 1990, some scientists tried in vain to get the word out. (“Suppression by Medical Journals of a Warning about Overdosing Formula-Fed Infants With Fluoride,” Journal Accountability in Research) (9)

FluorideGate? A recent article in an American Association for Justice newsletter for trial lawyers described potential upcoming fluoride legal actions based on personal injury, consumer fraud, and civil rights harm.(10)


1) New York State Department of Health, “Guidance for Use of Fluoridated Water for Feeding during Infancy ”http://www.health.state.ny.us/prevention/dental/fluoride_guidance_during_infancy.htm

2) FOIA Letters to Paul S. Beeber from NYC Department of Environmental Protection February 2009 Page 1 http://www.scribd.com/doc/18235930/NYC-Fluoridation-Costs-2008-Feb-2-200... Page 2 http://www.scribd.com/doc/18235931/NYC-2008-Fluoridation-Costs-Page-2-Fe...

3) National Research Council, “Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards” http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11571

4) Centers for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db53.htm

5) “Fluoridation: Time to Reevaluate,” letter by Bill Osmunson, DDS http://www.bmj.com/content/335/7622/699/reply#177639

6) "Why Do I Have White Spots on My Front Teeth," by Elvir Dincer, DDS, New York State Dental Journal, January 2008, Page 58 Volume 74, Number 1 http://www.nysdental.org/img/current-pdf/JrnlJan2008.pdf

7) Government Perspectives on Healthcare HHS: Proposed Guidelines on Fluoride in Drinking Water A Commentary By Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/738322

8) http://www.ci.fairbanks.ak.us/documents/council/agenda/Agenda.pdf

9) http://www.sustainabilitycentre.com.au/FormulaFedBabies.pdf

10) “Fluoridegate and Fluoride Litigation: What Law Firms Need to Know About Fluoride Toxic Tort Actions,” by Chris Nidel, Rockville, MD & Daniel G. Stockin, Ellijay, GA Winter/Spring 2011 American Association for Justice newsletter http://www.justice.org/cps/rde/xchg/justice/hs.xsl/14815_14817.htm


Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Village of Oakfield in a stew over future water delivery plans

post by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, water

One of these days, Oakfield's 96-year-old water tower could just simply burst open. 

Everybody agrees, it needs to be replaced, and soon.

Village officials have been working toward that goal, but recent events have created a quagmire that had about 40 residents packing the village hall Monday night to sound off about how the situation is being handled.

At its March 14 meeting, the village board approved a purchase offer on a 10-acre parcel off Coe Avenue as a location for a new water tower.

That purchase has sparked accusations of secret meetings, overpayment for the property, poor legal advice and concern that the village board is heading in a direction that will cost village rate payers and taxpayers a lot more money in years to come.

"This would not have happened on my watch," said former Oakfield mayor and current county Legislator Ray Cianfrini, looking directly at Oakfield Mayor Rick Pastecki. "You did not do your due diligence. You owe it to the community to do your due diligence when you take on a project of this magnitude."

Pastecki opened the meeting with a written statement explaining the events of the past five weeks.

Problems started, he said, when the village learned that the Town of Oakfield said it would not take title to a piece of property next to Oakfield-Alabama Central School, owned by Lamb Farms, for a new water tower.

The village would have to take title. And if it did, village attorney David DiMatteo informed the board, the Town of Oakfield could levy taxes against the property, and so could the county and the school district. 

Those taxes, on a water tower worth more than $1 million, could exceed $37,000 annually.

Near the end of the meeting, Pastecki pointed to the City of Batavia's Country Mall as an example of bad decisions that leave people in the future shaking their heads, wondering, "What were they thinking?"

"What we have done, we have done in good faith, trying to avoid any tax liability that we have no control over," Pastecki said. "We didn't want to add that burden in addition to the burden of water rates going up."

Several times, Pastecki emphasized that he's really concerned about what the school district might do in regard to taxes, because schools are increasingly desperate for revenue.

With the fear of high taxes -- and the prospect of losing a $600,000 state grant if a tower location was not quickly identified -- the board voted, following a closed session, to purchase the Coe Avenue property for $139,000.

The real estate deal has set people off. It feeds a perception in the community that the purchase was made in secret. Also, some residents question the parcel's suitability for erecting a new water tower: because of potential environmental problems there; the specter of it being an eyesore; and its distance from any foreseeable growth in Oakfield's population.

Several residents, including real estate investor Jeremy Yasses, said the village overpaid for the property.

The assessed value is $79,000 and some village residents spoke about a local nonprofit group that once had a purchase offer in place for the property for less than that amount, but the deal fell through.

"We know what that purchase price was," Yasses said, "and it wasn't $139,000."

He estimated the village overpaid by about $100,000 and questioned whether the village would ever be able to get its money back if the tower isn't built there.

The village attorney was not at the meeting. According to Pastecki, DiMatteo made only one offer for the property, $139,000, and it was accepted.

The purchase agreement includes no contingencies that would allow the village to get out of the purchase if the tower cannot be built at that location.

Pastecki said nobody considered it necessary to include contingencies.

"That's where we're going to put the water tower," Pastecki said.

The land, however, has an old residence on it that may contain asbestos. The site is landlocked and there are questions about accessibility. There used to be a greenhouse on it, whose proprietors may have left behind a buried fuel tank.

And while Pastecki said U.S. Gypsum's old underground mine shafts don't extend that far west, Cianfrini said he isn't so sure (after U.S. Gypsum shut down in Oakfield, the village acquired mine maps, Cianfrini said after the meeting, but it isn't clear if the maps are 100-percent accurate).

"I think you bought a pig in a poke," Cianfrini said. "You really don't know what you've got here."

Yasses and others said the the village board got bad advice from its attorney on the purchase.

"He should either resign or be fired," Yasses said.

At a previous meeting, Town of Batavia Engineer Steve Mountain spoke to the board about the possibility of extending a 12-inch public water line up Route 63 into the village.

Such a line would meet the current water needs of the village and handle growth for up to 1,000 more people.

Even so, Mountain said, apparently, the village would still need to build a water tower at some point.

Pastecki said that statement is what convinced the board to move forward with purchase of the Coe Avenue property. And with the cost of steel going up, it didn't make sense to wait to build a water tower.

But board members also admitted that they weren't really clear on what Mountain meant by the statement that a 12-inch line would meet current village needs, be less expensive and handle modest population growth.

There has long been discussion about the Town of Alabama buying water from the village, but Alabama has backed away from helping to pay for a water tower.

A Coe Avenue site wouldn't have enough capacity to meet the needs of both communities, nor would a 12-inch public water line extension.

So if neither is wholly suitable, why not just go with the less expensive water line? This question was first raised by Town of Oakfield Board Member Mike Cianfrini. But it wasn't really dealt with until near the end of the meeting when it was revisited by Kevin Skelton.

"We need to take care of the immediate problem," Skelton said. "If we think there will be considerable growth around here, then we should think about a plan for the future. For now, we should find the quickest way to solve the problem."

Pastecki said the board will consider everything people at the meeting had to say about the issue and review its options again.

Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 7:56 am

NYCity lelgislators Want Fluoridation Stopped

Heroic New York City Legislator Introduces Bill to Stop Fluoridation


NYC Council Member Peter Vallone, Jr. introduced legislation (Int 0463-2011) “prohibiting the addition of fluoride to the water supply.”  Five additional NYC Council Members have co-sponsored the bill (Council Members Cabrera, Crowley, Foster, Williams and Halloran) despite a letter writing campaign by the special-interest group NYS Oral Health Coalition and unfounded and non-scientific insults by the industry-backed group American Council on Science & Health whose fluoridation opinions are anything but scientific.


Fluoride chemicals are added to NYC’s water in a failed effort to reduce tooth decay.


Vallone writes on his website, “There is a growing body of evidence that fluoride does more harm than good.”


Recently, two federal government agencies admitted that US children are fluoride-overdosed and it's ruining their teeth and may be damaging their bones.(1) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that over 41% of adolescents suffer with dental fluorosis - white spotted, yellow, brown and/or pitted teeth - 4% of it severe. (2) The Mayo Clinic, CDC and the American Dental Association advise that infant formula NOT be mixed with fluoridated water, but do little to educate the public about this dire warning.


More than 3,500 professionals (including 300 dentists) urge that fluoridation be stopped citing scientific evidence that fluoridation is ineffective and has serious health risks. See statement: http://www.fluoridealert.org/statement.august.2007.html


Eleven US EPA unions representing over 7000 environmental and public health professionals are calling for a moratorium on fluoridation.


Attorney Paul Beeber, President, NYS Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation says, “It’s a rare legislator who’s willing to speak the truth about such a controversial issue, not for his own benefit but for the good of his constituents. Most government officials cling to outdated endorsements, baseless government pronouncements and fear of organized dentistry’s power and money. Vallone and the Council Members who support his bill are New York treasures.”


Vallone writes, “It’s time for an intelligent discussion to be had on this controversial practice. I believe after that occurs, most people will support NYC using the ‘Precautionary Principle,’ which says, if in doubt, leave it out.”


New Yorkers can be their own heroes and improve their own health by contacting the Mayor, the City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and their own Council Member asking or thanking them for supporting Vallone's bill.  http://council.nyc.gov/html/members/members.shtml

Here are reasons New York City Must Stop Water Fluoridation


Also, studies show high tooth decay rates in NYC populations studied, despite decades of fluoridation. See: http://www.freewebs.com/fluoridation/fluoridationfailsnewyork.htm


Fluoridation cost NYC approximately $25 million in 2008.  See: http://www.scribd.com/doc/18235930/NYC-Fluoridation-Costs-2008-Feb-2-2009-Letter-Page-1   






Children’s cavity rates are similar whether water is fluoridated or not, according to data published in the July 2009 Journal of the American Dental Association by dentist J.V. Kumar of the NY State Health Departmentof Health


The Case Against Fluoride, a research-driven new book indicts fluoridated water as unsafe to drink, wreaking havoc on the human body – harming the brain, endocrine system, bones, teeth and kidneys. http://fluoridealert.org/caseagainstfluoride.refs.html





1) New York Times January 11, 2011



2) Centers for Disease Control




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