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Pomfret discusses water issues with Fredonia

The Pomfret Town Supervisor and council members engaged in a lengthy conversation with the Fredonia Village Board Monday night to discuss the ongoing boil water crisis affecting that area.

“We want to request some increased communication between the village and the town,” Pomfret Supervisor Dan Pacos asked. “We were sort of frustrated through the boil water order that we didn’t know certain things were happening. We would just like to be kept in mind and kept informed.”

Pomfret Town Councilman Brett Christy chimed in that “water is an essential utility for all of us here and being on the town board as long as I have, we hear about issues over time.”

Christy added that being a village resident the Pomfret board had heard for quite some time of some potential upcoming issues that need to be addressed with the reservoir.

“As people sitting on the village board, you’re ultimately responsible for that and please, for all of us, make the decisions that you have in front of you that you have to do to make sure that we have good water moving forward,” Christy added.

“Our first priority is safe drinking water for all of our customers and that includes the town of Pomfret as well,” Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek stated, citing confusion as to the schedule of events that lead up to the boil water. “At the beginning, the work at the plant wasn’t stopped. The work schedule to replace the filter beds was actually this week. The schedule was right on schedule for the filter beds, so there was no stoppage or slow down on that project at all. The pumping station on Vineyard Drive that was still not completely in operation had some delays and that was supposed to be in operation before the filter beds were replaced to assist in the delivery of water.”

The village wanted to make sure the Vineyard Drive connection was done first so if there were any problems at the plant there would be a back up supplier from the city of Dunkirk. What happened however was that they were unable to get the parts for the Vineyard Drive connection due to COVID which were delayed until just the past few weeks.

Pomfret Councilwoman Ann Eckman added that the town has “had several people tell us that those filters and such were supposed to have been replaced in February. We’re getting information from everybody except the village and we kind of inferred that from you being on the radio because you said that you couldn’t do it in March because of COVID. Again we have people telling us those filters were supposed to be done in February and it was stopped. We’ve got a lot of people calling us. We have town residents saying ‘I’m not paying my water bill, why should I? Are they going to give us rebates?'”

“In the beginning Ann there was a lot of information, there was some confusion,” Essek responded. “You try to give the best information that you can, throughout COVID-19 and things change on a daily basis.”

Essek stated that he thought the whole situation would end within the first week and now he’s hoping that by the end of this week the order will be lifted.

“These aren’t exact circumstances that can be handled very simply. Again there were lots of things going on in the beginning. Our main concern was identifying the problem, seeing what we could do to rectify it,” Essek added.

Explanation regarding what transpires during a filter bed replacement was given stating that a super chlorination is done then the bed is placed on hold for 12 hours; afterward the bed is flushed. According the Essek, the first filter bed has been done and is being used. The second filter bed was already chlorinated and is most likely in the process of being flushed too.

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