No Answer on What Caused Nyack Water Advisory; Water May Have Been Contaminated for Up to a Week

Water Department suspected something was wrong last week

Nyack Water Department officials are unsure of what led to , and are continuing to look into the matter, they said.

"We don't know what caused it," said Michael Kaneletz, head of the Board of Water Commissioners of Nyack. "There are numerous possibilities. We're investigating and discussing it with our engineers."

Kaneletz said the —which indicate other, dangerous pathogens could be in the water supply—may have been from high water temperature.

"Hot weather might have exacerbated the problem," he said. "The water was warm, and warm things grow funky stuff."

Other causes could have been water spending too much time in storage tanks, or improper flushing. The Water Department does flushing about once a year in May, but used to do so twice a year.

"Perhaps it is time to go back to twice a year," Kaneletz said.

Due to the Water Department's routine testing schedule—15 tests a month—and a lag at EnviroTest Laboratories, the private laboratory that processes water samples, Nyack's water may have been contaminated for up to a week before residents were notified, Kaneletz said. The Water Department submitted a sample for testing under normal protocol on June 13, but did not hear back from the laboratory until June 17—usually, there is only a 24 hour turnaround.

"We had three days lag time," Kaneletz said, adding that negligence may have played a factor.

Ronald Bayer, a lab director at EnviroTest, said there was a delay because the laboratory was testing for things other than coliform.

"When we're doing [multiple tests] it takes 48 hours," he said. Bayer noted EnviroTest was looking for coliform, E. coli and other bacteria. The E. coli tests were negative, but coliform and other bacteria were found.

"We have no clue what caused it," Bayer added. "We just pick up the samples, test them and report on the data."

On June 17, when officials learned of the coliform level, they began another round of testing per protocol. In doing so they learned that water from two of six samples sites was contaminated, and the Rockland County Department of Health released a public message on Tuesday, June 21.

"I can't tell you how much [the public] was at risk," Kaneletz said. "I don't know if there was any risk. When we find an excessive amount of coliform, the horse is already out of the barn. What we do is take corrective action."

Kaneletz said such actions included an "aggressive flushing program" at six strategic locations, and introducing chlorine as a disinfectant. The next steps in tracking down the cause include studying water usage records and carrying out more tests, Kaneletz said.

Matthew Ciuccio June 24, 2011 at 08:07 PM
Phew, glad we got that straightened out, oh wait...
arthur June 24, 2011 at 08:15 PM
I think they know very well what Is going on but they tell us 15 later, I give the responsibility to united water and the village of nyack and health dept. Ask them to give us a refund for lost of business and buy bottle of water. And what answer you will get?!
tony chestnut June 24, 2011 at 08:27 PM
Good news is that lunch came with free diahrea
Debra Gibney Ortutay June 25, 2011 at 01:13 AM
Coliform bacteria are a commonly-used bacterial indicator of sanitary quality of foods and water. They are defined as rod-shaped Gram-negative non-spore forming bacteria which can ferment lactose with the production of acid and gas when incubated at 35-37°C.[1] Coliforms can be found in the aquatic environment, in soil and on vegetation; they are universally present in large numbers in the faeces of warm-blooded animals. While coliforms are themselves not normally causes of serious illness, they are easy to culture and their presence is used to indicate that other pathogenic organisms of faecal origin may be present. Faecal pathogens include bacteria, viruses, or protozoa and many multicellular parasites. Typical genera include:[2] Citrobacter, Enterobacter Escherichia Hafnia Klebsiella Serratia Escherichia coli (E. coli), a rod-shaped member of the coliform group, can be distinguished from most other coliforms by its ability to ferment lactose at 44°C in the fecal coliform test, and by its growth and color reaction on certain types of culture media. When cultured on an EMB plate, a positive result for E. coli is metallic green colonies on a dark purple media. Unlike the general coliform group, E. coli are almost exclusively of fecal origin and their presence is thus an effective confirmation of fecal contamination. Some strains of E. coli can cause serious illness in humans.[3] COLIFORMS ARE ONLY BACTERIAL INDICATORS, WHAT BACTERIA WAS IN OUR WATER!!!!!
Matthew Ciuccio June 25, 2011 at 01:48 AM
They have no idea. :). Maybe they should get one. Or get someone who does have an idea. I mean it is our eater supply. The answers given here are so trite it is sad. To me it really seems someone is biding their time to make a good excuse. Debra thanks for the most in-depth info yet.
greg mcmanus June 25, 2011 at 01:59 AM
Well I'm not a biologist but I know something about water quality. We don't get much quality for our buck. I have analyzed the water entering my home and found it to be not only poor but inconsistent. For me to enjoy the quality tap water I have had everywhere I have lived, I would need a treatment plant that would take up one fourth of my basement. Prefiltration for particulate, reverse osmosis, charcoal filtration, chlorination and sodium hydroxide injection might do the trick. Running such equipment would double my consumption. Thats only the start of the cost. I live in a fairly elevated portion of W. Nyack. The pressure is routinely=> 150 psig. Wonder what pipe busting pressures exist in Central Nyack
DLS June 25, 2011 at 01:39 PM
again, I request the testing data from the past month...or longer. as well as the chlorination levels. this is all a bunch of spin folks.
Matthew Ciuccio June 25, 2011 at 01:52 PM
I agree fully DLS.


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