Thursday, July 25, 2024

Brewster prohibits private wells

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BREWSTER – City council members enacted an ordinance prohibiting the drilling of all new private wells within the city limits during their regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, June 12. The ruling does not affect any private wells that existed prior to approval of the new ordinance.

Until the new ordinance was approved a property owner could drill a private well provided his lot size met the required lot size. The new measure provides that the City of Brewster is now the sole provider of water at all periods.

City attorney Chuck Zimmerman explained recent developments behind strengthening the existing ordinance.

Zimmerman said the city public works director recently received an application to drill a private well on private property within the city and with the wording of the ordinance as written the applicant “could make a pretty good argument that it’s not prohibited,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said there are specific instances where some city property owners have private wells because the city is unable to serve them with city water. However, the city is currently trying to solve water quality and water quantity issues and any new well would draw from the same aquifer and face the same problems.

Zimmerman added that most cities have a similar provision designating the city as the sole purveyor of water.

“It’s really a health and safety kind of issue,” Zimmerman said.

The city recently addressed water quality and quantity issues through passage of an emergency measure last month.

At a May 31 special council meeting, members approved a resolution to accelerate its efforts to develop new city wells because of excessive manganese content in its two existing river wells, one of which is necessary to provide the daily peak demand of 1,050 gallons of water per minute for city users.

Approval of the emergency well resolution allows the city to fast-track development of two new test wells with the current contractor, O’Connell Drilling & Supply, LLC, for quicker access to sources of high-quality water.

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