OGDENSBURG Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.
Not at the Odd Fellows Community Hall at 1111 Linden St., anyway.
For several months Joseph Franche, a representative of the International Order of Odd Fellows, has appeared before the City Council to complain about the brown, hazy water that pours out of the buildings taps.
The water is undrinkable, he said. It looks disgusting.
Worse, Odd Fellows member Anthony Sweeney said, is that the service organization cant offer tap water to those who patronize its building.
We have a sign up there that says no water, no ice, he said. I have to let the water run for half an hour before I can even use it to clean stuff.
A recent test of water quality by Life Science Laboratories of Waddington found the water is not safe to drink, with turbidity levels, a measure of haziness and sediment, five times above state standards.
The hall sits just inside the city limits, on a dead-end water main. Organization members said they believe the dead-end main is responsible for their undrinkable water, but Kit W. Smith, director of public works, said it was probably owing to an oversized line that runs from the building to the main.
Theyre getting the color from the sediment that is lying inside that lateral pipe, he said. I recommend they install a smaller line to their building, which should help the problem. I cant guarantee it would be a perfect fix.
Mr. Franche balked at the prospect of having to pay an estimated $3,000 for a new water line that might not solve the issue.
We cant afford to put that kind of money into something that might help clear the problem, he said. We need it corrected. Our lodge does a lot for this town. It shouldnt be too much to ask for clean drinking water.
Mr. Smith said the only guaranteed fix would be to loop the water main to connect back into itself.
That would be a substantial undertaking and cost, he said. Were estimating between $80,000 and $100,000.
Mayor William D. Nelson urged Mr. Franche to consider the citys recommendation.
Kits recommendation is something I would support before I spent $100,000 on it, he said. It sounds like we may have found a simple solution.
Mr. Franche said the problem is also affecting the National Grid building on Linden Street.
They installed a filter on their water, but their employees still refuse to drink it, he said.
Council members asked if there was any state or federal funding available to help pay for the improvements.
There are revolving loan moneys, but it is all loans, Mr. Smith said. All the funding for water has pretty well dried up, no pun intended.
The Odd Fellows members reminded the council that they pay city taxes and fees including water payments totaling almost $1,400 last year.
I have a hard time charging them $1,400 for water they cant drink, Councilman Daniel E. Skamperle said.
The council asked to have the citys engineer, Tisdale Associates of Canton, look into the problem before working on a solution with the Odd Fellows.
All I want is for our bingo players and workers to be able to have a clean glass of water to drink, Mr. Sweeney said. It seems like, as taxpayers, you work your fanny off for nothing.