Village concerned about Esopus water quality

Trustees are concerned over the quality of the creek, and whether the village beach will be safe for swimming this summer. Trustees didn’t know when the County Board of Health would be testing the water again, but they planned to request another test as soon as possible.

Last year trustees were concerned after tests following heavy rainfall showed elevated bacteria levels. Trustee Don Hackett, who is certified to take water samples, will also take samples at the beach and the board will pay the lab fees to have those samples tested. It is unknown at this time how much the lab fees will cost. The Board of Health tests water quality once per month during swimming season, which starts next month. Trustee Kelly Myers has also requested advanced notice of water releases from the Ashokan Resevoir, which to date, have not been given. She said the DEP has applied for a SPEDES permit to release water from the reservoir, and is currently negotiating with DEC behind closed doors. Myers said that DEP has asked to release up to one billion gallons per day into the lower Esopus. That is approximately double the amount of water released last winter.

Myers raised concerns other than water quality. The shape of the creek bed has shifted in many places. Last silt deposits have made some areas more shallow, and sand from the creek bed has moved in other places. “Rocks have shifted and a lot of soil has been carried away,” said Myers. “Gil Farms lost 30 acres. And, it went somewhere. “Two fisherman were killed last week in Lomontville, futher up the creek, when they fell into a newly created hole in the creek bottom and were then swept away by currents.“We really have to be very, very careful,” said Myers. “It’s not the same as it was. Everything we have to check out now.”