MAYVILLE, NY – On Thursday, the Chautauqua County Health Department (CCHD), in partnership with the Village of Fredonia, announced a boil water order affecting all water users. To improve understanding of the processes and systems involved, the health department is providing updated information to explain situations where boiling water is required.
Access to safe water is a primary and fundamental focus of public health practice. This is at the heart of CCHD’s daily work to promote healthy drinking water and prevent disease. People typically obtain water through private water systems, such as wells, or public water systems (PWS), such as those that serve many towns and villages across the country. New York State law requires local health departments to monitor these systems to ensure they are properly maintained and operating to produce safe water for their communities and customers.
All water operators are required to report any emergency that affects their treatment processes to the county health department Pursuant to New York Code, Rules, and Regulations (NYCRR) Part 5, Subpart 5-1, Sections 5-1.23 and 5-1.78. This ensures effective communication and technical assistance in real-time when issues arise. Health departments work with operators to determine how to best address current issues and when boil water orders are required; this communication can improve response times and expedite resolution of issues. Most importantly, as part of this partnership and process, the Department of Health provides clear and timely communication to potentially affected water customers by issuing a Boil Water Notice. The health department provides these notifications on behalf of the city so operators can focus on remediation efforts and leverages the county’s influence to amplify the information through the NY-Alert system.
“We are working hard to find long-term solutions to the water issues in the village,” said Village President Michael Ferguson. “Unfortunately, this affects not only our residents, but our universities, our businesses and our visitors. We need to fix this not just for our current residents, but for their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
“The facility’s domestic pump malfunctioned. The pump circulates water through the water heater through a misting device to the base of our chlorinator, which then dissolves the chlorine particles to create disinfectant,” said Louis Frey, water operator for Fredonia De explained. “We became aware of the issue overnight during our hourly inspections and immediately began troubleshooting. Unfortunately, isolated incidents like this do happen and are through no fault of any individual. Fredonia The Village’s water treatment plant has always put the interests of the community first and we can and will continue to do so, producing the highest quality water.”
Public Health Director Lacey Wilson clarified: “Mayors Lewis and Ferguson have done an excellent job enforcing the regulatory process and, as a result, likely avoided what could have been a larger, Longer-term issues.” “They are fighting an uphill battle with the antiquated infrastructure they currently have. Such failures should come as no surprise, though, as our health department’s water experts have cited these potential issues in an attempt to prevent further issues. Regardless, these issues are not uncommon as we find that this happens quite often when older systems are not regularly upgraded or overhauled. The good news is that they are making positive progress and we at the Ministry of Health are happy to see Mayor Ferguson shares the same priorities as former Mayor Essek on the health of our public.”
CCHD continues to provide technical assistance to the village to repair the old infrastructure of the water system and has made some significant progress over the past few months. In December, the village approved a plan to shut down the water plant, drain the reservoir and take water from Dunkirk. The Village is currently working with their engineering firm on plans to implement this new arrangement.
“Unfortunately, the predictions of our diligent public health staff have come true, causing water pumps in Fredonia to malfunction and require boiling water. During this time, Chautauqua County Executive Paul M. Wendel Jr. said Amid ongoing challenges and growing frustration, it’s worth noting that the Village of Fredonia has developed a comprehensive plan to address its water issues. “The Village continues to be an important effort grounded in science and public health principles. I wholeheartedly support our dedicated public health professionals and the Village of Fredonia for their continued efforts in collaboration and strategic planning. Through their diligence and foresight, the health department enabled the village to respond quickly and effectively.”
The Chautauqua County Health Department encourages all residents to sign up for the New York Alert System to receive important information and emergency alerts for Chautauqua County, including boil water orders. NY-Alert contains important information related to emergencies, including real-time instructions and advice from emergency responders. Residents can register at alert.ny.gov.
For more information about boil water and emergency disinfection, visit the New York State Department of Health website: www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/boilwater/. The press release will be posted on the Chautauqua County website: chqgov.com/news. For more information, residents should call the Village of Fredonia (716) 679-2307 and CCHD Licensed facilities can call the health department directly at (716) 753-4481.
About the Chautauqua County Health Department – The Chautauqua County Health Department is Chautauqua County’s leading public health organization dedicated to supporting community health. The health department takes an innovative approach to providing technical assistance to partner organizations and provides a variety of programs and services to help prevent disease, protect public health and promote the overall health and well-being of the community.For more information, please visit www.HealthyCHQ.com