Steuben County Residents Concerned About Safety of Drinking Water

There have been growing concerns about contaminated drinking water across the nation as people follow what is happening in Flint, Michigan or even nearby Ithaca. On Saturday, residents in the Corning area voiced their concerns about their own drinking water supply and the impact of bulk water sales.

Painted Post native Mary Finneran doesn’t want to have to think twice about the safety of the water she drinks every day and now she said she might have to.

“It’s getting to be very scary," said Finneran.

Her concerns were echoed on Saturday at a public forum in Corning. Dozens of residents gathered to learn about the environmental and health impacts of bulk water sales.

The Village of Painted Post wants to sell its water to fracking operations across the border in Pennsylvania and anticipate this will bring in an additional $2.5 million of income each year.

However, environmentalists say it's dangerous.

“When you pull a lot of water out of an aquifer that’s connected to a really complex hydrological cycle, there are health impacts,” said Sandra Steingraber, concerned health professionals of New York.

Sandra Steingraber said this feeling hits close to home. She became a young cancer patient because of contaminated water she drank in Illinois. She worries the same thing could happen in Painted Post and its surrounding regions, if officials make the wrong decision. She says pulling water out of the ground in bulk could contaminate the drinking water supply.

“How do we best safeguard it for current residents and future generations so that we don’t end up making a terrible unfixable mistake,” said Steingraber.

Painted Post residents say the public forum was informative, and that it’s important to talk about the impacts our environment can have on our health.

“We’ve had health problems in our family and I have a suspicion that a lot of it has to do with pesticides, pollution, and our water, our air, and our ground, and this answered a lot of those questions.”," said Marilyn Abbey, Painted Post resident. 

"It’s our children’s future, it’s our children’s children’s future and we need to look at seven generations down the road with every single action that we do,” said Finneran. 

A state court has put an injunction on this water sale and the village of Painted Post will have to conduct a proper review of the environmental impacts before moving forward with the sale.

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