I am a resident and mayoral candidate for Aurora. I am running for mayor in part because I have been frustrated by the lack of action regarding the issues surrounding the lake and the Aurora water system. These are not new issues; they have been talked about for years and we are now at a crisis point as the Wells College water treatment plant that was built in 1929 will soon be unable to provide water to the village.
While in the past couple of weeks there has finally been a community meeting and the board has voted to possibly contract with our village engineer to do a feasibility study, there are several possibilities that village residents should be aware of as the plans move forward.
One possibility is to upgrade the current system. Another possibility is connecting the village water pipes with Auburn’s pipes within a few miles of Aurora. A third possibility is a new plant in Aurora that could also serve as a redundant system for the Auburn system. Since Cayuga Lake is larger than Owasco it could be a backup in the event of problems with the Auburn system. And a fourth possibility is to connect with the Union Springs system that draws water from wells, not the lake, and has a large enough capacity to meet Aurora’s water needs with plenty to spare in the event of future growth.
The first possibility is not viable given that the intake pipe is close to the runoff from Paine’s Creek, the several acres of hydrilla, and the harmful algal blooms discovered last year. The last three are all viable possibilities but obviously, what must be taken into consideration as we move forward, is the cost of each of the systems to the village residents, college, inns and businesses as well as the speed with which things can be accomplished. Luckily there has been, and still is, a great deal of money available through the state.
But all of us who live in the Finger Lakes region should also know what we can do in addition to spending money on water treatment systems. This includes drainage ditches being adapted to better filter toxins, upgrading the waste water systems of older homes, limiting the use of pesticides, and ensuring responsible farming practices. Clean, fresh water not only provides us with beauty and recreation, but it is also a priceless commodity in the world as potable water increasingly becomes scarce. We all need to play a part.