Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors


May 14, 2013 - 4:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, water, Water Quality.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Annual Water Quality Report for 2012 has been completed and may be viewed online at: http://www.batavianewyork.com/documents/2012WaterReport.pdf. This report contains information as to how your drinking water is produced, testing results, and other general information relating to the public water supply. Paper copies of this report are also available at City Hall.


February 12, 2013 - 3:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in water, Bethany.

So far, only about 39 property owners within a proposed area for public water have contacted Town of Bethany officials to voice their opinion on the subject.

Carl Hyde, proponent of public water for that section of the Town of Bethany, said more people need to come forward if public water is to move forward.

Of the 225 property owners affected, 30 have said yes and nine no, but the sheer number of overall respondents is not enough for the project to proceed.

Hyde is asking that residents call 343-1399 and provide town officials with a yes or no opinion along with an address.

"The town board has done all they can to this point and so have I," Hyde said. "It's up to the people to voice an opinion."

Previously: Bethany residents facing big decision over public water

February 1, 2013 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in water, Bethany.

Town board members in Bethany need to hear from town residents on an important topic: Do you want public water?

Eric Wies, senior associate for Clark Patterson Lee, repeated that message several times last night at a public meeting in Bethany attended by nearly 100 residents.

The town board won't go forward with a public water project unless enough residents express interest because there's no point in going forward if property owners won't eventually sign a petition in support of creating a water district.

To that end, Wies (a water project consultant) said there are a number of factors property owners must consider, beginning with the fact their annual expected cost for public water could be as much as $1,600.

The final cost won't be determined until after the town board takes the next step toward setting up one or more water districts.

Wies explained in detail how water districts are formed and funded.

There is grant money available either from the state or federal government, but according to census data, the median household income in Bethany is $58,200.

That's much too high to even discuss the possibility of a state grant and a tad too high for a USDA Rural Development grant.

If there's sufficient interest from residents to take a closer look at public water, the town board will commission a third-party household income survey.

The responses will be kept confidential and the aggregate data shared with the town board.

If it shows that the actual median household income is less than $58,000, then the town would have a shot at a USDA grant.

Such a grant could lower the annual cost for residential water to $1,000 a year on average.

Bringing public water to Bethany involves creating one or more water districts.

Each water district would borrow the money necessary to connect to a water main from either the Monroe County Water Authority or the Town of Batavia's water supply and install water lines down each roadway in the district.

Part of the annual cost for each property owner is repayment of the loan, which will take 38 years to pay off.

"We're not spending our money. We're spending your money," said Supervisor Louis J. Gayton. "We don't want to spend your money if this is something you don't want."

The loan payoff follows the property, not the current property owner.

Some of the water cost for property owners, of course, is for the water itself. There will also be a charge, mandated by the county for new water districts, to help pay for the big water line that brings water from Monroe County to Genesee County. 

Bethany water customers will pay the surcharge -- 60 cents per 1,000 gallons of water -- whether the new district(s) goes with Monroe County water or Town of Batavia water.

Wies encouraged property owners to really examine the cost of their well water.  Well water costs include pumps (and pump replacements), electricity, replacing plumbing and fixtures regularly if the water is too hard, filtration, chlorination and water safety tests.

Some residents may find they're already spending as much as $1,600 a year on water, Wies said. They just don't realize it.

"This is a decision each of you will have to make yourselves," Wies said.

Public water will also mean fire hydrants in the town and more effective firefighting.

If residents decide to push forward with a water project, then Hyde and other residents (board members can't do it) will bring a petition around to each resident. The petition will have the property owner's name on it, the parcel number and the exact anticipated cost of water for the property owner.

If the owner signs the petition, it's like a yes vote. No signature, it's a no.

Property owners holding at least 50 percent of the assessed value of all property in the district must sign the petition, but as a practical matter, property owners with more than 70 or 80 percent of assessed value must support the formation of a water district.

At 50 percent, it's much easier for one owner who objects to block formation of the district.

If there's enough support for the district, then the town must appeal to the Comptroller's Office to approve the formation of the district. The Comptroller can veto the formation of the district where the annual cost of water exceeds $685.

The issue of public water reached this point largely because of the work of Carl Hyde, the champion for public water in Bethany.

At the end of the meeting, Hyde said he's done all he can do to get the issue to this point.

"Now it's up to you," he said. "This is your decision."

Top photo: Eric Wies. First inset, town attorney David DiMatteo. Third inset, Carl Hyde.

August 29, 2011 - 9:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, water, infrastructure.

Village of Oakfield residents should brace for a couple of increases in their quarterly water bills.

The first increase will be 65 cents per thousand gallons of water. That 19.4-percent increase will take the rate from $3.35 to $4.

The increase, according to Mayor Rick Pastecki, is designed to eliminate a deficit in water spending for the village.

"Basically, we found out that our rates were so low that state officials were concerned we wouldn't be able to pay back our debt," Pastecki said. "Basically, we found through the process that our rates were considered extremely reasonable, which precluded any kind of grant money."

The village needs a low-interest loan -- which has been awarded, and a grant, also awarded -- for a new water tower and transmission line.

The current water tower is well beyond its useful life and the village has been able to secure a 2.5-percent loan and a $600,000 grant, but those funds will only cover a portion of the cost of the $3.4 million project.

And that cost -- though expected to be high -- hasn't been determined yet.

To pay for the tower, another water-rate increase will be necessary, according to Pastecki, but more calculations need to be done before he can estimate the potential second rate increase.

Information for this report courtesy of Geoff Redick of WBTA.

May 18, 2011 - 6:26am
posted by NYS Coalition O... in water, fluoride, fluoridation, oral health, infant formula, teeth, fluorosis, dentistry.

Babies fed infant formula mixed with New York’s fluoridated tap water risk developing enamel fluorosis or discolored teeth, according to the New York State Department of Health (1).

Bureaucrats fail to effectively broadcast this vital information beyond their little-read websites which places babies at unnecessary risk of developing fluoride-damaged teeth.

Fluoride chemicals are added to tap water serving 12 million New Yorkers (8.4 million in NYC) in a failed effort to reduce tooth decay. Fluoridation costs NYC about $20 million yearly.(2)

In 2006, the National Research Council (NRC) cautioned that infants can fluoride-overdose via reconstituted baby formula using “optimally” fluoridated water and risk growing white spotted, yellow, brown and/or pitted permanent teeth (enamel fluorosis). (3)

“Parents, who are concerned about the risk of enamel fluorosis, can mix liquid concentrate or powdered infant formula with water that is fluoride-free or contains low levels of fluoride. Examples are water that is labeled purified, demineralized, deionized, distilled or reverse osmosis filtered water,” according to the NYS DoH’s website (1)

Advanced enamel fluorosis (pitting, brown stains) can be reached with exclusive and/or excessive formula use over a prolonged period, they report.

“Of course, parents are concerned about possibly disfiguring their baby’s brand new teeth,” says attorney Paul Beeber, NYSCOF President. “Officials should inform new mothers about this in every way they can. Instead they omit or downplay its significance seemingly to protect fluoridation policy,” says Beeber

Over 41% of adolescents are afflicted with enamel or dental fluorosis, reports the CDC. (4)

“As a cosmetic dentist, it is not uncommon to have patients receive gorgeous porcelain veneers to correct their dental fluorosis…Costs range from several hundred dollars to well over $25,000 and need to be retreated every 10 to 20 years for life time costs which may exceed $100,000 per person, writes Bill Osmunson DDS in the British Medical Journal. (5)

Fluoride exposure is rising and causing children's tooth imperfections, ranging from white spots to brownish discolorations and pitting, according to dentist Elivir Dincer in the NYS Dental Journal. “Such changes in the tooth's appearance can affect the child's self- esteem," Dincer writes.(6)

The NYS DoH joins many fluoridation-promoting organizations which quietly advise against feeding fluoridated-water to infants, e.g., US Dept of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control, American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, Mayo Clinic, California Dental Association, Vermont Department of Health, Minnesota Dental Association, Delta Dental, and others. “All formula, either concentrates or ready-to-feed, [already] have some fluoride,” says Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, US Department of Health and Human Services.(7)

Koh advises low-fluoride bottled water be used for routinely reconstituting infant formula. “Government and University officials who protect the chemical fluoride over children’s health should be de-funded including researchers, state health commissioners and their dental bureaus,” says Beeber.

The Fairbanks, Alaska City Fluoride Task Force recommends ending fluoridation because, “This will reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of significant incidence and severity of fluorosis, especially fluorosis associated with the use of [Fairbanks fluoridated] water to prepare infant formula.” (8)

In 1990, some scientists tried in vain to get the word out. (“Suppression by Medical Journals of a Warning about Overdosing Formula-Fed Infants With Fluoride,” Journal Accountability in Research) (9)

FluorideGate? A recent article in an American Association for Justice newsletter for trial lawyers described potential upcoming fluoride legal actions based on personal injury, consumer fraud, and civil rights harm.(10)


1) New York State Department of Health, “Guidance for Use of Fluoridated Water for Feeding during Infancy ”http://www.health.state.ny.us/prevention/dental/fluoride_guidance_during...

2) FOIA Letters to Paul S. Beeber from NYC Department of Environmental Protection February 2009 Page 1 http://www.scribd.com/doc/18235930/NYC-Fluoridation-Costs-2008-Feb-2-200... Page 2 http://www.scribd.com/doc/18235931/NYC-2008-Fluoridation-Costs-Page-2-Fe...

3) National Research Council, “Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards” http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11571

4) Centers for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db53.htm

5) “Fluoridation: Time to Reevaluate,” letter by Bill Osmunson, DDS http://www.bmj.com/content/335/7622/699/reply#177639

6) "Why Do I Have White Spots on My Front Teeth," by Elvir Dincer, DDS, New York State Dental Journal, January 2008, Page 58 Volume 74, Number 1 http://www.nysdental.org/img/current-pdf/JrnlJan2008.pdf

7) Government Perspectives on Healthcare HHS: Proposed Guidelines on Fluoride in Drinking Water A Commentary By Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/738322

8) http://www.ci.fairbanks.ak.us/documents/council/agenda/Agenda.pdf

9) http://www.sustainabilitycentre.com.au/FormulaFedBabies.pdf

10) “Fluoridegate and Fluoride Litigation: What Law Firms Need to Know About Fluoride Toxic Tort Actions,” by Chris Nidel, Rockville, MD & Daniel G. Stockin, Ellijay, GA Winter/Spring 2011 American Association for Justice newsletter http://www.justice.org/cps/rde/xchg/justice/hs.xsl/14815_14817.htm


March 29, 2011 - 2:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, water.

One of these days, Oakfield's 96-year-old water tower could just simply burst open. 

Everybody agrees, it needs to be replaced, and soon.

Village officials have been working toward that goal, but recent events have created a quagmire that had about 40 residents packing the village hall Monday night to sound off about how the situation is being handled.

At its March 14 meeting, the village board approved a purchase offer on a 10-acre parcel off Coe Avenue as a location for a new water tower.

That purchase has sparked accusations of secret meetings, overpayment for the property, poor legal advice and concern that the village board is heading in a direction that will cost village rate payers and taxpayers a lot more money in years to come.

"This would not have happened on my watch," said former Oakfield mayor and current county Legislator Ray Cianfrini, looking directly at Oakfield Mayor Rick Pastecki. "You did not do your due diligence. You owe it to the community to do your due diligence when you take on a project of this magnitude."

Pastecki opened the meeting with a written statement explaining the events of the past five weeks.

Problems started, he said, when the village learned that the Town of Oakfield said it would not take title to a piece of property next to Oakfield-Alabama Central School, owned by Lamb Farms, for a new water tower.

The village would have to take title. And if it did, village attorney David DiMatteo informed the board, the Town of Oakfield could levy taxes against the property, and so could the county and the school district. 

Those taxes, on a water tower worth more than $1 million, could exceed $37,000 annually.

Near the end of the meeting, Pastecki pointed to the City of Batavia's Country Mall as an example of bad decisions that leave people in the future shaking their heads, wondering, "What were they thinking?"

"What we have done, we have done in good faith, trying to avoid any tax liability that we have no control over," Pastecki said. "We didn't want to add that burden in addition to the burden of water rates going up."

Several times, Pastecki emphasized that he's really concerned about what the school district might do in regard to taxes, because schools are increasingly desperate for revenue.

With the fear of high taxes -- and the prospect of losing a $600,000 state grant if a tower location was not quickly identified -- the board voted, following a closed session, to purchase the Coe Avenue property for $139,000.

The real estate deal has set people off. It feeds a perception in the community that the purchase was made in secret. Also, some residents question the parcel's suitability for erecting a new water tower: because of potential environmental problems there; the specter of it being an eyesore; and its distance from any foreseeable growth in Oakfield's population.

Several residents, including real estate investor Jeremy Yasses, said the village overpaid for the property.

The assessed value is $79,000 and some village residents spoke about a local nonprofit group that once had a purchase offer in place for the property for less than that amount, but the deal fell through.

"We know what that purchase price was," Yasses said, "and it wasn't $139,000."

He estimated the village overpaid by about $100,000 and questioned whether the village would ever be able to get its money back if the tower isn't built there.

The village attorney was not at the meeting. According to Pastecki, DiMatteo made only one offer for the property, $139,000, and it was accepted.

The purchase agreement includes no contingencies that would allow the village to get out of the purchase if the tower cannot be built at that location.

Pastecki said nobody considered it necessary to include contingencies.

"That's where we're going to put the water tower," Pastecki said.

The land, however, has an old residence on it that may contain asbestos. The site is landlocked and there are questions about accessibility. There used to be a greenhouse on it, whose proprietors may have left behind a buried fuel tank.

And while Pastecki said U.S. Gypsum's old underground mine shafts don't extend that far west, Cianfrini said he isn't so sure (after U.S. Gypsum shut down in Oakfield, the village acquired mine maps, Cianfrini said after the meeting, but it isn't clear if the maps are 100-percent accurate).

"I think you bought a pig in a poke," Cianfrini said. "You really don't know what you've got here."

Yasses and others said the the village board got bad advice from its attorney on the purchase.

"He should either resign or be fired," Yasses said.

At a previous meeting, Town of Batavia Engineer Steve Mountain spoke to the board about the possibility of extending a 12-inch public water line up Route 63 into the village.

Such a line would meet the current water needs of the village and handle growth for up to 1,000 more people.

Even so, Mountain said, apparently, the village would still need to build a water tower at some point.

Pastecki said that statement is what convinced the board to move forward with purchase of the Coe Avenue property. And with the cost of steel going up, it didn't make sense to wait to build a water tower.

But board members also admitted that they weren't really clear on what Mountain meant by the statement that a 12-inch line would meet current village needs, be less expensive and handle modest population growth.

There has long been discussion about the Town of Alabama buying water from the village, but Alabama has backed away from helping to pay for a water tower.

A Coe Avenue site wouldn't have enough capacity to meet the needs of both communities, nor would a 12-inch public water line extension.

So if neither is wholly suitable, why not just go with the less expensive water line? This question was first raised by Town of Oakfield Board Member Mike Cianfrini. But it wasn't really dealt with until near the end of the meeting when it was revisited by Kevin Skelton.

"We need to take care of the immediate problem," Skelton said. "If we think there will be considerable growth around here, then we should think about a plan for the future. For now, we should find the quickest way to solve the problem."

Pastecki said the board will consider everything people at the meeting had to say about the issue and review its options again.

February 5, 2011 - 6:56am

Heroic New York City Legislator Introduces Bill to Stop Fluoridation


NYC Council Member Peter Vallone, Jr. introduced legislation (Int 0463-2011) “prohibiting the addition of fluoride to the water supply.”  Five additional NYC Council Members have co-sponsored the bill (Council Members Cabrera, Crowley, Foster, Williams and Halloran) despite a letter writing campaign by the special-interest group NYS Oral Health Coalition and unfounded and non-scientific insults by the industry-backed group American Council on Science & Health whose fluoridation opinions are anything but scientific.


Fluoride chemicals are added to NYC’s water in a failed effort to reduce tooth decay.


Vallone writes on his website, “There is a growing body of evidence that fluoride does more harm than good.”


Recently, two federal government agencies admitted that US children are fluoride-overdosed and it's ruining their teeth and may be damaging their bones.(1) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that over 41% of adolescents suffer with dental fluorosis - white spotted, yellow, brown and/or pitted teeth - 4% of it severe. (2) The Mayo Clinic, CDC and the American Dental Association advise that infant formula NOT be mixed with fluoridated water, but do little to educate the public about this dire warning.


More than 3,500 professionals (including 300 dentists) urge that fluoridation be stopped citing scientific evidence that fluoridation is ineffective and has serious health risks. See statement: http://www.fluoridealert.org/statement.august.2007.html


Eleven US EPA unions representing over 7000 environmental and public health professionals are calling for a moratorium on fluoridation.


Attorney Paul Beeber, President, NYS Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation says, “It’s a rare legislator who’s willing to speak the truth about such a controversial issue, not for his own benefit but for the good of his constituents. Most government officials cling to outdated endorsements, baseless government pronouncements and fear of organized dentistry’s power and money. Vallone and the Council Members who support his bill are New York treasures.”


Vallone writes, “It’s time for an intelligent discussion to be had on this controversial practice. I believe after that occurs, most people will support NYC using the ‘Precautionary Principle,’ which says, if in doubt, leave it out.”


New Yorkers can be their own heroes and improve their own health by contacting the Mayor, the City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and their own Council Member asking or thanking them for supporting Vallone's bill.  http://council.nyc.gov/html/members/members.shtml

Here are reasons New York City Must Stop Water Fluoridation


Also, studies show high tooth decay rates in NYC populations studied, despite decades of fluoridation. See: http://www.freewebs.com/fluoridation/fluoridationfailsnewyork.htm


Fluoridation cost NYC approximately $25 million in 2008.  See: http://www.scribd.com/doc/18235930/NYC-Fluoridation-Costs-2008-Feb-2-2009-Letter-Page-1   






Children’s cavity rates are similar whether water is fluoridated or not, according to data published in the July 2009 Journal of the American Dental Association by dentist J.V. Kumar of the NY State Health Departmentof Health


The Case Against Fluoride, a research-driven new book indicts fluoridated water as unsafe to drink, wreaking havoc on the human body – harming the brain, endocrine system, bones, teeth and kidneys. http://fluoridealert.org/caseagainstfluoride.refs.html





1) New York Times January 11, 2011



2) Centers for Disease Control




October 10, 2010 - 8:33am
posted by NYS Coalition O... in water, pregnancy, fluoride, fluoridation, dentistry, infants, premature birth.

 Fluoride avoidance reduced anemia in pregnant women, decreased pre-term births and enhanced babies birth-weight, concludes leading fluoride expert, AK Susheela and colleagues, in a study published in Current Science (May 2010). http://www.fluorideandfluorosis.com/Anemia/Current%20Science%20Reprint.pdf

Susheela’s team explains that anemia in pregnancy, which can lead to maternal and infant mortality, continues to plague many countries despite nutritional counseling and maternal iron and folic acid supplementation. This is the first examination of fluoride as an additional risk factor for anemia and low-birth-weight babies.

Fluoride chemicals are  added to 70% of US public water supplies.

Anemic pregnant women living in India, whose urine contained 1 mg/L fluoride or more, were separated into two groups.  The experimental group avoided
fluoride in water, food and other sources and ate a nutritious diet per instruction.  The control group received no instructions. Both groups supplemented with iron and folic acid.

Results reveal that anemia was reduced and pre-term and low-birth-weight babies were considerably fewer in the fluoride-avoidance group as compared to the control. Two stillbirths occurred in the control group, none in the experimental group.

Susheela et al. writes, "Maternal and child under-nutrition and anemia
is not necessarily due to insufficient food intake but because of
the derangement of nutrient absorption due to damage caused to GI
 (gastrointestinal) mucosa by ingestion of undesired chemical
substances, viz. fluoride through food, water and other sources."

Fluoride avoidance regenerated the intestinal lining which
enhanced the absorption of nutrients as evidenced by the reduction in
urinary fluoride followed by rise in hemoglobin levels, they report.

Could the same thing be happening in the United States? State University of New York researchers found more premature births in fluoridated than non-fluoridated upstate New York communities, according to a presentation made at the 2009 American Public Health Association’s annual meeting.

Previous published research shows fluoride can
interfere with the reproductive system (


Susheela writes in the journal Fluoride“Where the use of fluoride has been promoted, women who are pregnant may find our protocol equally beneficial for preventing anemia and ensuring a normal, healthy birth outcome.” 


Current Science reports that adverse reactions of fluoride
consumption are known to occur including
reducing red blood cells, reducing blood folic acid
activity, inhibiting vitamin B12 production and the nonabsorption
of nutrients for hemoglobin biosynthesis.

“Citizens must demand that water fluoridation be stopped,” says attorney Paul Beeber, President, New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc.  “It’s disturbing that public-health officials and organized dentistry continue to ignore the overwhelming evidence revealing fluoride to be non-nutritive, unnecessary and unsafe,” says Beeber.



April 29, 2010 - 12:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, health, water, e-coli.


The exact words may not have been spoken, but the message was clear for Town of Batavia residents Wednesday evening: Get on public water.

No matter how much you like your well water, there's no way to guarantee it will remain safe.

"We want to be sure people understand that those are three tests and those are three bad contaminates (e-coli, coliform and nitrates), but there is a concern you should have on other items possibly getting in (your water)," said town engineer Steve Mountain.

The tests for e-coli, coliform and nitrates are quick and easy, but Mountain's message was, if those containments can reach well water, so can other contaminates.

Once a well is shown to be susceptible to contamination from surface water -- which the tests for those three substances prove -- then the well should really be considered unsafe.

Tests of wells around the town found that containments from manure as well as human waste is getting into the ground water, and when members of the 100-person audience at Wednesday's meeting wanted information on how to trace the source to agriculture, Town Supervisor Greg Post suggested, gently, they were looking in the wrong direction.

“If there’s a blend of both (human and agricutlure), it really doesn’t matter," Post said. "The water’s not safe.”

Of the 38 wells tested in the Bank Street Road, State Street Road, Batavia-Elba Townline Road area, 14 tested positive for bacteria and 11 of 13 tested positive for unsafe levels of nitrates.

In the rest of the town, 11 of 52 tested positive for bacteria and 28 of 47 for nitrates.

The results show that Town of Batavia wells are susceptible to contamination from surface water.

Illustrating the point from the audience Wednesday night was Harlo Towner, a Batavia-Elba Townline Road resident who said his well water is completely unusable. He showers at the YMCA or his daughter's house in West Batavia, and when he comes in from gardening, he goes through a regime of anti-bacterial hand washing.

It's been that way for years.

He blames, in part, pesticide planes from the airport.

He said growing up his daughters had stomach problems and rashes that went away when they left for college.

For the past five years, he's been battling cancer. He doesn't think it's a coincidence.

"It's a really bad situation," he said. "We really need water bad. I think everybody on the road signed up for it."

Part of tonight's presentation included Mountain explaining how residents can get on public water, which consists of creating water districts.

There are grants available to help pay for the creation of water districts, but residents can expect to pay in the neighborhood of $700 per year for public water once a district is created, Mountain said.

Photo: Towner is in the center of the picture.

March 11, 2010 - 1:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, water, e-coli, water wells.

(Updated 3:18 p.m.)

The wells of three homes on State Street Road in the Town of Batavia have been contaminated by the deadly bacteria known as e-coli, according to the county's Interim Health Director Randy Garney.

The likely cause of the contamination, according to Garney, was the spreading of manure on nearby farm fields.

The three homes are located between the airport and the Genesee County Emergency Management Office.

Rwater_statestreet.jpgesidents contacted the health department Monday complaining about discolored water and a funny smell, Garney said. The water was tested on Tuesday and positive results came back Wednesday.

Resident Joe Pionessa (pictured), who has lived on State Street for 22 years, said his water tested positive for bacteria, but no e-coli, though he believed neighbors on both sides of him did have e-coli in their well water.

He said it wasn't a big deal. He doesn't drink water ("I know what fish do in it," he said), and he thinks his water has already cleaned up quite a bit (he dumped chlorine in it after noticing the funny smell on Thursday).

He doesn't want negative publicity for the farmer, whom he said he's known for years and he believes was following state guidelines.

"Stuff like this happens and he certainly didn't do anything maliciously," Pionessa said. "He was very apologetic. Shit happens, and this time it happened here."

Somebody, he said, possibly the farmer, left three cases of bottled water yesterday on Pionessa's front steps.

Letters have been sent to 44 of the surrounding home owners in both Batavia and Elba warning them of the potential contamination and asking them to contact the health department to have their water tested if they suspect any contamination.

The test is free.

Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Yaeger said test results of the well water at the county building came back negative this afternoon. Not that it mattered much, Yaeger said, since personnel there have drank bottled water since the day the facility opened.

Because the wells were contaminated from a ground water source, it's probable that the residents will never again be able to use the wells for potable water.

Town of Batavia Supervisor Greg Post said the Town has already started the process of helping the residents determine if they want to create a water district and hook their homes into the public water system.

This sort of contamination is a common issue in the Town of Batavia, according to Post.

"We anticipate that this will be an issue until every household in the community is on public water," Post said. "The only solution to this is to ensure that well water is no longer the primary source of water because all well water is at risk."

While the town doesn't supply water, they do have resources available to help with getting the engineering done, the cost analysis and setting up the process of putting homes on public water

"There is a process and we’re certainly already mobilized," Post said.

There was a similar problem on Ellicott Street Road two years ago, where a farmer was "guilty of farming" -- spreading manure in accordance with state regulations -- and more than 100 homes were effected by e-coli contamination. The town was able to help expedite the process of getting the homes on public water.

January 11, 2010 - 10:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, water.

water_coucnil.jpgIf the City of Batavia is going to maintain its aging water infrastructure, there  will need to be a series of rate increases over at least the next five years, the City Council was told tonight.

The city needs to make about a $4 million investment in the coming years, said Stephen C. Waldvogel, a consultant from Consestoga-Rovers & Associates out of Buffalo.

"Running a water and sewer utility in today's economic climate is growing increasingly difficult," Waldvogel said. "There are numerous challenges associated with running a water and/or with a sewer utility, particularly in the northeast. One of the prevalent problems throughout the northeast, which the city is facing right now, is aging infrastructure. Your water plant was constructed about 100 years ago. Your wastewater plant was about 30 years ago, and most of the pipes in the ground are 50 to 100 years old."

Failures are inevitable and residents face potential service outages without improvements.

Waldvogel suggested the city institute a five-year plan of rate increases -- the average rate would go up less than $1 per month each year (2.5 percent per year), plus institute a $1-per-quarter fee to pay for infrastructure improvements ($3 per quarter by the fifth year).

"This fee would be dedicated solely to making those improvements so that you can demonstrate more clearly to your residents, or your constituents, that you're getting value for this investment," Waldvogel said. "We're not going to take this money and move it somewhere else. You're going to pay this fee and we're going to put it right back into your infrastructure. You can talk to them about the projects that this fee is paying for."

If the council were to move forward on Waldvogel's suggestions, there would be a public hearing as part of the upcoming budget process. 

The city cannot enact a five-year fee increase plan, but it can start with a scheduled two-year increase in 2010, which then could be renewed every two years as needed.

Waldvogel stressed that over the course of five years, the need for the fee could change.

City Council President Marianne Clattenburg said after the meeting that a plan such as Waldvogel presented is probably necessary.

"This is exactly what I was talking about when I said we are going to have to start setting priorities and moving forward with future plans," Clattenburg said. "The city is in need of reconstruction in certain parts of our water and sewer system, so I think this was a very comprehensive, well-thought-out, reasonable study as to how we're going to go where we need to go in the future."

Waldvogel listed six challenges facing the city and its water service:

  • Aging infrastructure
  • Potential declining service levels
  • Escalating operations and maintenance costs
  • Declining consumption
  • Reduced funding options
  • Previous large rate increases

Part of Waldvogel's gradual rate increase plan is to avoid the sticker shock on consumers of a spike in rates, such as the 2008 rate increase. Prior to 2007, the city hadn't increased rates in four years.

As for declining consumption -- that's largely a result of people buying more efficient washers, toilets and other water devices. The city saw an 8-percent decrease in water usage last year and an 13-percent decrease over the past four years. Waldvogel's study didn't go back further, but he said he's confident that's a long-term trend.

Declining consumption means less in water fees collected.

At the current rate of rising costs and decreased revenue, he expects operational deficits beginning this year to reach $600,000 a year by 2014, unless something is done.

As for sewer, Waldvogel said that system is in better shape financially and he sees no reason for sewer-rate increases over the next five years.

Some of the charts from tonight's presentation after the jump:

November 14, 2009 - 5:37am
State University of New York (SUNY) researchers found more premature births in fluoridated than non-fluoridated upstate New York communities, according to a presentation made at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting on November 9, 2009 in Philadelphia. (1)


Fluoridation is the addition of fluoride chemicals into public water supplies ostensibly to prevent tooth decay. Many groups oppose fluoridation because of its scientifically-documented health risks. (2)


Human pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks or just more than 9 months. A baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy is considered a preterm (or premature) birth.  About 12 percent of US pregnancies are preterm and this is one of the top causes of infant death in the US, according to the US National Institutes of Health. (3)


The SUNY researchers used 1993-2002 data from the NY Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS), which collects patient characteristics, diagnoses, treatments, services and charges for every hospital discharge, ambulatory surgery patient and emergency department admission in New York State. They recorded fluoridation residence status (under or over 1 milligram fluoride per Liter of water) and adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, neighborhood poverty level, hypertension and diabetes.


“Domestic water fluoridation was associated with an increased risk of PTB [preterm birth]. This relationship was most pronounced among women in the lowest SES [socio-economic-status] groups (>10% poverty) and those of non-white racial origin,” write Rachel Hart, et al. Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, SUNY School of Public Health.


Previous published research by others has shown that fluoride can interfere with the reproductive system. (4)


“It would be wise to follow the lead of the 7,000 Environmental Protection Agency scientists and public health professionals (5) who asked Congress to place a moratorium on fluoridation until definitive studies are conducted to prove fluoridation is safe for every human consuming it,” says attorney Paul Beeber, President, New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc. “Clearly fluoridation is not safe for everyone," says Beeber.


At the request of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a National Research Council (NRC) panel of experts reviewed current fluoride toxicology. In  2006 they concluded  that the maximum amount of fluoride allowed in drinking water is too high to be protective of health.  At least three NRC panel members believe water fluoride levels should be as close to zero as possible.  The EPA has yet to perform a fluoride risk assessment based on the NRC's findings leaving millions of Americans at risk of fluoride's adverse health effects.


According to Dr. Bill Hirzy, Chair of American University’s Chemistry Department and former EPA scientist from 1981 to 2008, the EPA fears “setting a maximum contaminant level goal of zero because that would mean the EPA is going to be responsible for the end of the water fluoridation program. EPA knows that there will be enormous political flak for doing that.” (6)


SOURCE:  New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc (NYSCOF)

PO Box 263

Old Bethpage, NY  11804

Follow NYSCOF on Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/nyscof





1) 197468 Relationship between municipal water fluoridation and preterm birth in Upstate New York Rachel Hart, BA, MPH, et al. Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University at Albany, State University of New York, Rensselaer, NY



(2) Fluoride Action Network – Health Effects Database


(3) National Institutes of Health, “Preterm Labor and Birth,”



(4) Fluoride Action Network - HEALTH EFFECTS: Fluoride & the Reproductive System http://www.fluoridealert.org/health/repro/index.html


(5) Why EPA Headquarters Union of Scientists Opposes Fluoridation  


(6) The Eagle, “Hirzy: EPA drags feet on fluoride.” by Howie Perlman, October 28, 2009


November 2, 2009 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alexander, water.

Residents in the Village of Alexander no longer need to boil water to make it potable.

The boil order for the Village and along Route 98 to Attica was lifted this morning.

The order had been in affect for several days.

(via WBTA)

October 29, 2009 - 6:53am

All infant formulas, whether ready-to-feed, concentrated or organic, contain fluoride at levels which can discolor developing teeth, reports the October 2009 Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) (1).

Fluoride, added to some bottled and public water supplies ostensibly
to prevent cavities, is also in many foods and beverages, including
infant formula. Excessive fluoride discolors and/or weakens permanent
teeth (moderate fluorosis).

Researchers measured fluoride content of 49 infant formulas. See:

The research team concludes,  "Most infants from birth to age 12
months who consume predominantly powdered and liquid concentrate
formula are likely to exceed the upper tolerable limit [of fluoride]
if the formula is reconstituted with optimally fluoridated water (0.7
- 1.2 ppm).”

Surprisingly, the study reveals that all 6-month-olds and younger will
also exceed the lower “adequate intake” (0.01 mg/day) from all
formulas (concentrated or not) risking moderate dental fluorosis from
formula, alone. (2)

Breast milk contains about 250 times less fluoride than "optimally"
fluoridated water and isn't linked to fluorosis.

"Babies don't need fluoride and fluoride ingestion doesn’t reduce
tooth decay,” says attorney Paul Beeber, President, New York State
Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc. “So why are US babies still
exposed to unnecessary fluoride chemicals via the water and food
supplies and why aren’t parents informed of the consequences?” asks

Up to 48% of school children have fluorosed teeth – 4% severe, reports
the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (3).

Both the CDC and the American Dental Association’s web sites advise
parents to avoid mixing fluoridated water into concentrated infant
formula, but they have never effectively broadcast this information to
parents or the media (4,5).

A review of human studies by different researchers published in JADA
(July 2009) concluded, “Our systematic review indicated that the
consumption of infant formula [concentrated and ready-to-feed] is, on
average, associated with an increased risk of developing at least some
detectable level of enamel fluorosis.” (6)

“Parents, protect your children since dental and government agencies
won’t. Petition local and state legislators to stop adding unnecessary
and harmful fluoride chemicals into public water supplies and,
thereby, into our food supply,” says Beeber. “Further, demand that the
fluoride content of all food products be required on labels."

Researchers agree that infant formula levels should be lowered.  

"One interpretation of the available
evidence would be that public health officials should create
guidelines for infant formula consumption ensuring that the upper
intake level established by the Institute of Medicine... is not
exceeded. Another approach would be to strive for 'biological
normality' and to strive for fluoride levels observed in breast milk,"
write Hujoel et al. in "Infant Formula and Enamel Fluorosis: A
Systematic Review. (6)

A recent investigation by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found
that over-exposure to fluoride among infants is a widespread problem
in most major American cities. EWG's study found that, on any given
day, up to 60% of formula-fed babies in US cities were exceeding the
Institute of Medicine's "upper tolerable" limit for fluoride. (6a)

In 2004, fluoride researcher Dr. Teresa A. Marshall told Reuters
Health, "Very young infants are unlikely to benefit from the caries-
prevention effects of fluoride…They may be at increased risk of dental
fluorosis." (7) Marshall co-authored “Associations between Intakes of
Fluoride from Beverages during Infancy and Dental Fluorosis of Primary
Teeth,” in the Journal of American Clinical Nutrition. (b)

In 2000, researcher A K Mascarenhas evaluating only well-conducted
studies from the 1980s through the 1990s concluded in Pediatric
Dentistry that infant formula was a major risk factor for dental
fluorosis. (8)

As part of the on-going Iowa Fluoride Study, Levy and his team
measured the fluoride content of infant formula and found from 0.15 to
0.30 ppm in ready-to-feed infant formula. (9)

Common household water filters (e.g. carbon filters) do not remove 
fluoride and unlike chlorine, which
dissipates upon boiling, fluoride
becomes more concentrated when water is boiled.

Only distillation, reverse osmosis and political activism removes fluoride from tap water.

Parents are advised to control their chldren's total daily fluoride intake with the help of their dentists.  But most dentists don't know what foods contain fluoride and at what levels. Also, most dentists are unware that fluoride ingestion does not reduce tooth decay (e.g. http://tinyurl.com/Yoder ) The USDA set up a Fluoride in Foods database to help parents out.  However, that also is not well-advertised.

USDA: Fluoride-content of common foods: http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=6312

Pictures of fluorosis

SOURCE:  New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc.


1)   “Assessing a potential risk factor for enamel fluorosis: a
preliminary evaluation of fluoride content in infant formulas,”
Journal of the American Dental Association October 2009

2) http://fluoridation.webs.com/intakefromformula.htm

3) http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/figures/s403a1t23.gif

4) http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/safety/infant_formula.htm

5)  http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/pubs/adanews/adanewsarticle.asp?art...

6)  “Infant Formula and Enamel Fluorosis: A Systematic Review,”
Journal of the American Dental Association by Hujoel, et al, July 2009

6a) "National Academy Calls for Lowering Fluoride Limits in Tap
Water," EWG News Release, March 2006

7) "Too Much Fluoride May Harm Babies' Teeth," Reuters Health, May 5,

8) Pediatric Dentistry. July-August 2000. "Risk factors for dental
fluorosis: a review of the recent literature," by Mascarenhas AK

9) Dental Clinics of North America 47(2003), "Current and future role
of fluoride in nutrition," by Warren & Levy, 225-243

More evidence that infant formula is linked to dental fluorosis:


August 5, 2009 - 9:23pm
posted by Brittany Baker in water, Alabama, project.

An overwhelming majority of residents of Alabama want piped-in water to replace their current well-water supply, a fact that was brought into light by a survey conducted in 2003. The survey also made it apparent that residents were willing to pay for public water, but those in attendance at the informational meeting last night were leery over the $5.2 million dollar price tag.

Residents in the town gathered in the fire hall to go over the pros and cons of public water, the cost and responsibilities of the homeowner, and the logistics of the project that were projected thus far.

The owner of Chatfield Engineers, Paul Chatfield, presented the proposed district as well as the dollar amounts that came along with it, saying that each resident would have to pay a target charge of $702.

Alabama Water Bottle.JPG

“If it would only cost me $700 to get water, I’d write you a check today!” said Bill Maragliano. He and his wife have lived on Roberts Road for four years. They were upset that the projected water lines were (as of right now) not going to reach them. Later, he showed me a bottle of water he’d taken from the faucet at his house, and it wasn’t pretty.

 The Maragliano’s plan to get a petition signed by their neighbors saying that they want water. Supervisor of the Town of Alabama, Guy Hinkson asked that anyone else who wants water on their street to bring it to his attention with a petition as well.

A show of hands around the room indicated that the majority of people in attendance did want water, but when it came time for questions and concerns it was clear they were wary of the cost. 

Chatfield explained that the interest rates for loans have been nearly cut in half over the past few years. He said now is the time to take advantage of grant programs, such as the one offered by USDA Rural Development – a federal agency that provides loans and grants based upon the incomes of the residents in the town.

The total cost of the project that USDA Rural Development is willing to pay (the projected grant plus the projected loan) is approximately $5,258,000. The estimated target charge per house is approximately $702 per year (debt service plus the cost of water). Loan specialist Dawn Kuras for the USDA Rural Development assured that even if the loan or grant amounts change, the target charge per household would remain around $700 per year.

That $700 does not include the cost to run the water line from the road to the resident's house (approx. $8-12 per sq. foot), or the purchase of water.

Many people were concerned about senior citizens on fixed incomes and how they would afford a new cost. Kuras explained that the USDA was there to help individuals as well as the town afford water. She said to contact her office in Batavia with inquiries.

“We have a lot of details to work out in regards to this project,” said Chatfield. The application process is time consuming and the general schedule for water districts from formation to completion is projected to take almost four years.

Supervisor Hinkson concluded the meeting by saying “This has been a long time coming… people need water.” 

Not everyone in attendance agreed that the town should go ahead with the project as projected right away, however.  Co-legislator in District 1 of Oakfield and Alabama, Ray Cianfrini brought it to attention that there could be other ways to get this project paid for. He suggested they seek funding through Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP).

Cianfrini also mentioned that the Town of Oakfield was “basically mandated” to replace their water tower and they are having trouble finding grant money. He said that two municipalities combined would increase their chances to get grants, so “Why not take advantage?”

Supervisor Hinkson stressed throughout the meeting that the project was still “conceptual… We are in the preliminary phases of getting all this accomplished.”

June 8, 2009 - 7:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in water, regulation, well water.

Here's an interesting story from the D&C that could have local implications: State lacks standards for private well water.

In another test, arsenic above recommended levels was found in the water, and now Wagner faces the expense of hooking up to the public water supply.

"It's the state that let us down," Wagner said. "Everybody should be assured that if a well is tested before the sale of a home, it's fully tested."

New York doesn't require that well water ever be tested at all and there are no state cleanliness standards for private wells. The 10-parts-per-billion federal and state arsenic standard, for example, applies to public systems but not to private wells.

And the state also doesn't know how many wells are in use or where they are. Well-owners in New York — one estimate puts the total at 1.5 million — are largely left on their own.

How's your well water, if that's what you use?  Have you ever had it tested? Have you bought a house only to find the well water wasn't what you expected?  Have you had trouble getting into a water district so you could get off well water?

December 28, 2008 - 4:36pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in weather, water, flood.

 I know a lot of people are spending today dealing with flooded basements. After you get the water pumped out, please feel free to share photos and stories of the events from today.

December 28, 2008 - 6:46am
posted by JIM NIGRO in weather, water, flood.

FYI.....Tonawanda Creek south of Batavia BEGAN spilling its banks last evening (Sat. Dec. 27) and continues to rise. It  doesn't appear to be anywhere near cresting and this event looks to be potentially nasty. Pumps are running in the basement of our Creek Road home as I write this. Looks like our dogs will be spending the day indoors.

Probably a good a idea to avoid the low-lying areas immediately to the south, particularly  Dorman, Peaviner, Cookson and Old Creek Roads.    

October 9, 2008 - 8:47am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, republicans, water.

A water main downtown broke this morning leaving folks along Woodrow Road between Main Street and West Avenue without water service. WBTA's Dan Fischer reports that the city has no estimate on when service will be fully restored.

If you're looking to get a McCain-Palin sign to stick in your front lawn this election season, you will have to get in line. Genesee County's GOP headquarters reported that they have not been able to handle the demand for the signs, and they've run out. More should arrive Tuesday.

August 5, 2008 - 8:17am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, water.

Check out WBTA for this and other stories:

  • A water main break on Walnut Street in Batavia this morning has kept residents there without water since around 3:00am. Repairs are underway.
Subscribe to The Batavian - Local Matters

Copyright © 2008-2022 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button

News Break