August 8, 2012

Salt-contamination study moving slowly

LEDGERS CORNERS — While investigation has begun into the source of salt contaminating the water supply here, frustration has peaked for affected residents.

“We shouldn’t have to be doing this on our own,” said Cheryle Saltmarch, who has helped organize a community group to work together in search of answers. “We don’t understand why our legislators are not knocking down doors trying to find an answer.”

Saltmarsh and Jeff King share a residence on the corner of Route 374 and Plank Road in the Town of Dannemora hamlet of Ledgers Corners, directly across from a New York State Department of Transportation salt shed, which seems to be source of contamination that has existed for more than a decade.

They had their water tested for contaminants more than a year ago, and results came back positive for high levels of sodium and chloride, minerals that have damaged their dishwasher, other appliances and water and sewer lines and left them without a private source of water.

“We can’t filter the water; we can’t drill wells.” Saltmarsh said. “What other alternatives do we have?”


Several state and county agencies have been working on the issue, holding bi-weekly conference calls including representatives from the Department of Transportation, the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Clinton County Health Department and the Clinton County Office of Emergency Services.

“We have consultants in the field collecting water samples for analysis,” said Mike Flick, spokesperson for DOT in Watertown. “Field work is continuing, which includes property-owner interviews and mapping.

“Water deliveries also continue,” he added. “A (5,000 gallon) tanker remains on site for those who wish to use it and for their animals.”


The Clinton County Health Department requested the tanker in March, and the State Emergency Management Office potable-water-transport tanker was parked in an empty lot just west of the state storage facility.

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