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Water tanker being returned, Bethany residents have until Tuesday for fills

By Joanne Beck

Bethany town residents will be able to fill their water totes for the last time from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the town hall, Supervisor Carl Hyde Jr. says.

The water tanker on loan from the state Office of Emergency Management is being taken back next week, and the town has been given until Tuesday (Dec. 26) to use it, Hyde said.  

“We knew it was on loan. I asked for an extension and we didn’t get it. Everybody knew this might happen. We just need to figure out the next step. I’m not done thinking outside the box,” Hyde said Thursday morning. “We’ve got a lot of bottled drinking water for residents; that’s a good thing. We will continue with the bottled water program until all 24 pallets are handed out to those whose wells have gone gone dry.”

Even with the tanker, it has been a completely flawless operation, he said, given the cold temperatures. There have been several times that the water valve has been frozen and needed to be thawed out. As winter progresses, that would have continued to be a difficulty to contend with, he said.

“The weather’s a huge factor in where we’re going and what we’re able to do. Mother Nature is just being difficult; first she put us in this drought and then she brought all this cold weather,” he said.  The pump housing is aluminum. We can’t heat it up with a torch; aluminum does not like torches and heat, it could expand and crack.  We’ve had to pour warm water on it to thaw it out. It’s not easy.”

He commended the town board and community members for pulling together and working out solutions so far. 

“We are resilient in Bethany, and we will do what we have to, to come through this,” he said. “Everybody has done a great job to get us to this point.”

Having the 6,700 tanker from the state was a temporary fix that was appreciated, and more residents have water totes as a result of it, he said. For now, they will have to travel to Batavia, Pavilion or Stafford to meet their water supplies. He has not heard of any dry wells recharging to the point of being filled on their own, he said.

“We are talking, we are trying to figure something out,” Hyde said. “We did have the hall booked for Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve parties, and those were canceled.”

The volunteer fire company usually has several breakfast fundraisers the first part of the year, and those too have been canceled without water, he said. 

“We don’t know when the water is coming back,” he said. “It really upsets the apple cart. Unfortunately, I have to be the bearer of bad news.”

The good news has been that Bethany was awarded a $5 million grant for Water District 5.  

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