Forestville residents voice water concerns

FORESTVILLE – When it comes to water, Forestville residents are missing the way things used to be.

Residents again came to the village board meeting Tuesday to ask what can be done about the smell of the water.

Until recently, the village’s water supply came from springs in Arkwright. Due to issues with surface water and an inadequate supply for the demand, the state required the village to upgrade its system. The village decided to undergo a water project, replacing the old water lines and replacing the springs with well water.

Residents complained that they could tell the difference in the source of the water right away because where the water before was clear and odorless, it is now discolored and smells.

“You don’t know if you will smell worse when you went into the shower or when you come out of it,” Eileen Eaker said.

Several residents questioned why the water source was changed.

“The water in Arkwright was considered the best in Chautauqua County for a long time. How can the state come in and tell us that we can’t have it? It doesn’t make sense. Now we have trash water,” one resident said.

Mayor Kevin Johnson explained the village is trying to address the issue with chlorine, but the smell comes from high iron and manganese levels.

“It doesn’t taste good, but the health department says it is drinkable,” he said.

Angela Bittinger said she is concerned with exposing her young children to the water.

“There is so much great water out there, why did we choose to drill wells where the old Agway used to be?” she asked.

Johnson said no one in office now was on the board when that decision was made.

The village is investigating options to control the odor.

Bittinger also asked the board about a notice she received, telling her she must replace the waterpipe that runs from her house to the street because it does not meet code. She said she had no knowledge that the line would need to be replaced until she received the 90-day notice in the mail.

She asked that residents be given more time to save and make the change.

“After that huge tax increase, then we get this in the mail. It is like bam here’s a tax increase, bam here you need to pay to replace this in 90 days,” said Bittinger, a teacher currently on unpaid maternity leave.

She added that she is concerned for others on fixed incomes that will not be able to pay for the change.

“Some people won’t come here and speak up, but I am saying it – It’s too much,” she said.

Johnson said there were about 70 homes in the village found to have lines out of code. He said the board will not extend the deadline for all residents, but will consider hardships submitted in writing on a case by case basis.

“The policy was written to have the least problems, the least leaks and we are going to adhere to it,” Trustee Gary Belote said.

Bittinger said she intends to submit a written letter and encourage her neighbors to do the same.

The board will next meet on Aug. 26.

The board will not meet for its regularly scheduled meeting on Sept. 9 due to the primary election held in the village hall from noon to 9 p.m.

The board was planning on opening bids for three land parcels declared surplus on Sept. 9. The board approved postponing this to the next meeting on Sept. 23. A legal notice will be published reflecting the change. The board approved a declaration of no adverse impact to the land by selling it under the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

The Zoning/Planning Board will meet Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. Terms for members were approved with Barbara O’Connell as an alternate.

The village board is looking for volunteers to sit on the village’s sustainability task force. It is also still looking for a dog control officer.

Johnson complimented the summer youth recreation program and said he hopes Program Director Hazel Morrison will come back next year.