After nearly a decade of work and some false starts, the Woodstock Town Board unanimously enacted a new Wellhead Protection Overlay District to preserve the town’s water supply.
Former Town Board member Ken Panza recalled when the Wellhead Protection Working Group was appointed to get things going. “…this project goes back 30 years, and it was some of the early members of the Environmental Commission that established the project,” Panza said at the December 13 Town Board meeting.
Panza recognized Judith Kerman, Ed Sanders, Barry Samuels; former WEC chair, the late Ann Brandt, the late Jerry Washington and Town Board member, the late Jay Wenk for their contributions toward aquifer protection.
“(Council member) Laura (Ricci) took it over the finish line, but she got a chance to stand on some really strong shoulders to get it done,” said Panza
The town passed a Wellhead Protection Law in 2007, but the incoming administration headed by Supervisor Jeff Moran in 2008 didn’t file the paperwork with the state.
“I think with great fondness back to Jay Wenk and Jerry Washington because this was their passion and they’re not here to celebrate with us, but I remember them as we pass this law because it was so important to them,” Ricci said.
The law establishes an overlay district around the Bearsville aquifer that supplies the town water system and imposes restrictions on allowed land use for anyone within that area.
Residential or commercial interior or exterior improvements, renovations or alterations within the district will require a special use permit. Every property owner within the Wellhead Protection Overlay District and not within the town sewer district will be required to have their septic tank pumped out and inspected at least every three to five years and provide a receipt to the Building Department within 30 days of the service.
Those requesting a permit must provide a list of all petroleum, chemicals, fuels and hazardous substances to be used, generated or stored or used on the premises including use of pesticides, herbicides, solid waste or radiological substances.
The applicant may be required to take pollution control measures to prevent ground or surface water contamination.
Depending on the use, limits will be imposed on the amount of nitrogen discharged into the groundwater and the amount of water drawn from the ground.
All drainage from surfaces except driveways, walkways, parking areas and accessory structures for single or two-family dwellings will require a stormwater pollution protection plan.
Prohibited uses and activities will include car wash, cemetery, chemical or biological lab, commercial automobile storage, contractor’s yard, snow disposal, funeral home, gas station, auto repair, golf course or country club, laundry or dry cleaning, metal fabrication, pesticide store or wood treatment.