Jerusalem says it is clear in seepage incident

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
A crew was digging for answers to possible soil and/or water contamination on Lower West Lake Road Monday morning.

JERUSALEM —Town officials say they have received results of tests and analysis proving that the town is not responsible for elevated bacteria levels in groundwater  and seepage discovered along Keuka Lake earlier this year.

The town released a statement on Nov. 30 explaining the latest information its has about the situation.

Bonnie Curbeau, who owns property in the area of concern, and who first brought the issue to the town’s attention earlier this year, said she and her husband, Dick, received a letter from the Town of Jerusalem recently.

“Dick and I, along with our neighbors, will continue to monitor the soil in the West Lake Road neighborhood,” she said in response to the statement released by the town.

In July 2010 the Town of Jerusalem received a complaint from West Lake Road homeowners about ground water seepage and surfacing with potentially elevated bacteria levels. The groundwater seeps were generally located on steep lakeside slopes in areas of recent lakefront homeowners construction.

The town consulted with the Keuka Watershed Improvement Council (KWIC), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health before investigating.

The town, acting as the municipality’s public health officer, investigated the situation to determine if it constituted a public health hazard. The Geneva office of the Department of Health provided technical assistance, and both KWIC and DOH participated in the planning and evaluation of the test results.

The town tested the 12 in. water main and 8 in. sewage force main for any possible leakage which may have been contributing to the ground water flows. Ultrasonic leakage testing detected no evidence of any leakage from the town-owned water main or sewage force main.

The town then evaluated the residential connections to the sewage force main by excavation to the points of connection and pressurized testing of the homeowner’s sewage laterals. The town also collected samples of groundwater along the 8 in. sewage force main for analysis of bacterial levels and chemicals found in domestic sewage. All these tests showed no evidence of any sewage in the groundwater.

A test of groundwater seepage at the site indicated a possible presence of sewage. This site was re-tested two more times, and no further indication of groundwater contamination by sewage was detected.

Based on the tests and analysis, with input from Sheryl Robbins P.E. of the Department of Health and Paul Bauter from KWIC,  the town has determined that no public health hazard exists and that the town’s water and sewer systems appear to be operating properly and are not contributing to bacteria found in the groundwater of the West Lake Road area.

The town’s statement says no further action is needed by the town.