Poughkeepsie... "Today, I am announcing that I have forwarded sample legislation to all 30 local governments in Dutchess County for those who choose to enact local town laws requiring mandatory well water testing in their community. This legislation could be used if the respective local town leaders believe it to be a necessary and appropriate step for their community and residents,” said Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus.
Local town leaders will have the opportunity if they choose to take the initiative and decide if enacting this legislation is the right approach for their residents based on the geology of their area, population density, contamination history and other factors in their town. No local town currently mandates well testing and only one of 57 counties in NY State has such a mandate.
As drafted, were the locality to adopt the legislation, it would require a water test for those with wells for bacterial and chemical contamination before the transfer of title to private residential premises or commercial establishments. The property seller would have to have well water tested by a New York State approved laboratory and obtain written certification that the test results are in accordance to New York State Sanitary Code Part 5 limits. The test results would be provided to the property purchaser and filed with the municipality for public inspection. Towns could use the sample legislation as written or as a basis to create its own local law.
“Dutchess County already has a strong record of protecting the health of our residents and our environment as demonstrated with the creation Dutchess County Safe Drinking Water Enhancement Program which I announced in my 2001 State of the County address,” said Steinhaus. The Dutchess County Safe Drinking Water Enhancement Program is an extensive water testing program in place for more than 700 public water systems, ensuring the quality and safety of publicly regulated water systems. The County Health Department, as directed by Steinhaus, has sent tens of thousands of mailings to all property owners about water quality matters in an outreach effort to raise public awareness and encourage well water testing.
Additionally, the Dutchess County Legislature has available for adoption a proposal crafted by Legislators Mary Swartz, East Fishkill and Shannon LaFrance, Fishkill with assistance from former Chairman Bradford Kendall. This proposal would further the efforts of Dutchess County government to protect its residents and environment. This legislation provides for a target, science-based testing effort funded by the county budget as opposed to a county mandated expense of $500 or more to every single individual county homeowner with a well were the county to adopt a county wide law.
Individual residents, local government and county government all play a vital role in protecting our environment and personal health. Steinhaus concluded “I am proud of Dutchess County’s record for protecting the health of our residents. I have provided our local town leaders with this draft legislation so they can choose what they believe best for their individual communities, and further complement county efforts.”
Click on the links below to read:
Letter to Town Supervisors/Mayors
Local law draft legislation