Environmental officials have identified a damaged fuel line as the likely source of contamination of the water system in the Village of New Paltz.
Village officials reported on Wednesday, Feb. 12, that during the installation of the village's water plant’s new filtration system, a third-party contractor damaged the fuel line to the treatment plant’s oil furnace creating a slow seepage leak into the ground approximately 500 feet from the reservoir on the Mountain Rest Road water treatment plant property.
"We believe oil began to leak from the damaged line once the heat was turned on this winter and oil seeped through the ground to the reservoir," Village officials said.
The leak detected on Tuesday, Feb. 11, caused the area's water to smell and have an oily sheen, requiring a stop drinking water order to all residents, including at SUNY New Platz which is closed at least through Saturday, Feb. 15, due to the problem.
The village is now bypassing the damaged reservoir and accessing the Catskill Aqueduct for water.
State officials said as a precaution, absorbent booms and pads have been placed in the reservoir and DEC Spill Responders will continue to remain on-site to ensure the public health and the environment are protected.
Residents are still advised to not use the tap water for drinking, cooking, or making ice until notified it is safe to do so.
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