Well that provides water to Saugerties Comfort Inn is contaminated, DEC finds

Excavations take place at the Sunoco gas station across Route 32 from the Comfort Inn, which is under a ‘Do Not Drink the Water’ order from the state DEC. Ditches are being dug at the gas station to determine whether the contamination is coming from the station. (photo by Robert Ford)

State officials are not sure when a leak of what is currently being called a “petroleum product” occurred. The leak led them to issue a ‘Do Not Drink the Water’ order to the Comfort Inn on Route 32.

Peter LaScala, general manager of the inn, said state Department of Environmental Conservation officials entered the facility on June 2 and said they were there to test the water from the well, located on Route 32 in the town of Saugerties. The Comfort Inn is not near any of the village-owned water lines. It has its own well.


LaScala said the tests showed some sort of petroleum product had gotten into the well, and he was told that no one could drink the water. “We immediately went out and brought up lots of bottled water and stocked all the rooms,” LaScala said, “ so guest would not be inconvenienced.”

To ensure that guests could still take showers and wash up, the neighboring Howard Johnson, which has a private fire hydrant on its property, ran a hose from the hydrant to supply water to the Comfort Inn.

Several years ago, according to Michael Hopf, village water superintendent, the owner of the Howard Johnson hooked up to a village water line by the Land and Sea Restaurant on Route 212.

The village water department put a water meter on Howard Johnson’s hydrant while it was supplying water to the Comfort Inn to keep track of how much water was used.

Meanwhile, the owner of the Sunoco service station across Route 32 from the Comfort Inn was ordered to hire a company to find out whether the leak was coming from his gas station. Ahmed Biooa, manager of the gas station, said last week that nothing had been found in any of the ditches dug around the station by American Petroleum of Albany.

American had been called in to find out if there was a leak at the gas station, and if so, where.

“They have found nothing,” Biooa said. He complained that the ditches were preventing customers from getting into the station and that he was losing money.

This Monday, Hopf said he’d been told that a dozen monitoring wells had been dug around the gas station to see if a leak had migrated. State DEC officials told him that it did not appear there was a current leak, but there may have been a leak at one time, Hopf said.

DEC officials did not returned several calls or emails asking for information about the incident.

When did LaScala think the contamination came from? LaScala pointed out the front door and across the street to the Sunoco station. “Them,” he said.

The big worry for the village water department is where the possible contamination might be headed. The Sunoco station and the Comfort Inn are near the Winston Farm, being considered by the village water department as a secondary source of water for customers.

Hopf noted that a Holiday Express is slated to be constructed on land near the Sunoco station. The developer of the new motel is going to pay to have a private water line run from the village’s water line on Route 212. “Maybe the Comfort Inn and the Sunoco station can ask to be allowed to tie in to that line,” Hopf said.

Until the cause of the contamination and its source is determined, the village water department will keep close tabs on action being taken by the DEC. “We are waiting for the results,” Hopf said.

There are 6 comments

  1. Bart Friedman

    Saugerties may not have enough water to supply a hotel, much less, three hotels. I’d check first.

  2. William Hung

    I agree with Bart, not that I’m against the hotels but has anyone checked what kind of impact it would have on the Saugerties water supply? I know when the town flushes the hydrants, living on 212, the water turns brown fast and lasts for days. Imagine adding 3 more motels to the supply line…

  3. NYArtist

    It’s only a matter of time before the contaminated land up in Palenville flows down into Saugerties if it hasn’t already.

    Wake up folks. Contamination in Ellenville and in Palenville which effects Saugerties. The Comfort Inn is downhill from Palenville. Water flows downhill. If you don’t care about the Palenville contamination which the govt is trying to cover up then you don’t care about your own wells and family.

    1. NYArtist

      Correction…I meant to write, It’s only a matter of time before the toxic water contaminating land up in Palenville flows down into Saugerties, if it hasn’t already…etc etc.

  4. Lea Cullen Boyer

    Makes sense that petroleum would come from the gas station.

    Also wondering why Saugerties is not looking at the Edwards dump at the top of the watershed in Palenville for potential contaminants. Not sure where that water shed ends in relation to the town’s drinking water. Do know that there are many tractor trailer loads of undocumented stuff in that wetland.

    The families on either side of the wetland are struggling with various health issues and cognitive issues and are not making the best case for what’s happening to them. Got to wonder what is moving along the wetland making it’s way into aquifers in Saugerties.

  5. David Radovanovic

    This is unacceptable in a rural watershed community. This kind of news can destroy our economy, livelyhoods and our health. DEC officials need to start enforcing environmental laws and imposing significant fines of polluters.

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