Area residents have read some dire news in the paper lately about the state of Clayton’s sewer and water infrastructure. (For background, read Clayton’s water systems ‘alarming’, from the January 8 edition of the Watertown Daily Times.)
The Watertown Daily Times today ran Save The River’s letter to the editor supporting the Village of Clayton’s efforts to update their sewer and water systems. As we note in our letter below, these are difficult, but critical, issues to address and investing in our sewer and water infrastructure today will ensure that future generations of Clayton residents will have safe drinking water and a river free of sewer overflows.
Watertown Daily Times Letter to the Editor
Clayton mayor, board deserve praise for facing water issue
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20, 2010
Regarding the article “Clayton’s water systems ‘alarming,’” Save The River would like to express appreciation to the Clayton Village Board and Mayor Norma Zimmer for biting the bullet and taking on the difficult, but essential issue of water infrastructure. Those present at the meeting on Jan. 7 got the message loud and clear — over the last 30 years, not enough has been done to maintain the village’s sewer and water system, and unless that changes, costs will continue to skyrocket, opportunities for government assistance will be lost and pollution entering the St. Lawrence River will continue.
This is a difficult situation to be sure, as no one looks forward to higher bills, but the facts are plain. Lack of action by prior boards has resulted in significant deterioration of the water and sewer system. Unfortunately, funding from various government programs is limited, which requires that local communities show they are contributing their fair share. This means that grants are not available without higher rates, and the costs are too high to accomplish without grants. The village is moving in the right direction by abandoning the piecemeal approach of the past and developing comprehensive solutions. Putting off this effort will only lead to more problems and a bigger cost down the road, whereas sewer and water infrastructure improvements today will ensure that current and future generations of Clayton residents will have safe drinking water and a river free of sewerage overflows.
Save The River applauds Clayton’s leaders for tackling this tough but essential job of investing in a sewer and water system that can function effectively into the future while protecting the St. Lawrence River as well. We stand ready to help the village board in this important effort.
Jennifer J. Caddick
The writer is executive director and upper St. Lawrence riverkeeper for Save The River.