Poughkeepsie... Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus and Dutchess County Water and Wastewater Authority (DCWWA) Chairman Thomas LeGrand have announced the completion of a groundwater resources report for Dutchess County.
The Dutchess County Aquifer Recharge Rates & Sustainable Septic System Density Recommendations will assist communities with land use planning for sustainable development densities in local areas dependent on individual wells and septic systems.
Executive Steinhaus stated, “We have been committed to ‘smart growth’ strategies for many years now, with one of the main principles that it be sustainable over the long term. Areas of our County will continue to be dependent on individual wells and septic systems. It is increasingly important these areas not exceed development levels that would degrade the groundwater needed to provide adequate supplies in the near and long-term. This report is another tool to assist our communities in understanding the levels of development that can be sustained and when that development needs to be slowed.”
Chairman LeGrand stated, “The Water and Wastewater Authority is once again pleased to have the support of County Executive Steinhaus and Legislative Chairman Kendall in our mission to insure our communities have adequate supplies of water and proper treatment of wastewater. County funding has enabled the Authority to have the resources to complete this report and make it available to assist our local governments.”
The study and report prepared by Russell Urban-Mead, Senior Hydrogeologist with the Chazen Companies, who was the principal author.
DCWWA Executive Director Scott Chase stated, “Aquifer recharge is dependent upon a number of factors including: precipitation, stormwater run-off, stream flow, impervious surfaces, surficial geology and soil characteristics. In the past few years we have made tremendous strides in better understanding many of these factors specific to our County and in developing the tools to analyze them.”
The Executive noted, “The County has also supported the development of computerized mapping capabilities that allow a whole new level of geographic information analysis. Using updated soils and aquifer information and the enhanced geographic information system capabilities, more precise analyses and better advice is available for planners and development decision-makers.”
The recently completed aquifer report recommends in areas served by individual wells and septic systems that the density of septic systems be limited to reflect the ability of the soil to allow precipitation to recharge the groundwater. Soils with greater permeability can accommodate higher levels of development. The recommended densities range from average parcel sizes of 1.2 acres in areas with highly permeable soils to an average of 6.2 acres in areas with low permeability.
Chase further noted, “The report does an excellent job breaking a complex formula into basic and understandable components. We receive precipitation, some of it runs off into streams, a significant portion is evapotranspired back into the atmosphere and a portion is absorbed by soils and moves through the environment to recharge our aquifers. We need to be sure there is sufficient recharge water to both meet our supply needs for quantity purposes and to provide sufficient dilution of wastes that are not otherwise broken down by the septic systems.”
Steinhaus added, “The initiation of this work dates back to the formation of our Water Supply Protection Committee in the late 1990s. I am pleased our emphasis on long term strategic planning, looking at economic and environmental interests as critical elements to our quality of life, has resulted in our being in the forefront of New York counties conducting long-term aquifer capacity and quality monitoring and studies and offering such planning tools to our local municipalities. We believe our leadership in planning for sustainable development will be emulated by others.”
The report will be presented at public meetings to be arranged throughout the County over the next several months. Persons interested in attending a presentation should contact the WWA at 845-486-3601. The report is available on line at https://www.dutchessny.gov/CountyGov/Departments/WaterandWaste/ratesanddensityrecommendations.pdf.
Steinhaus concluded, “This collaborative effort between the County and the WWA has proven successful on many projects. We will continue to share resources and personnel to meet our common goals of serving the taxpayers of Dutchess County.”