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The Case Against Mayor Schmidt’s Scheme to Add Chemical Additives to Croton’s Water

October 7, 2007

croton-on-hudson-mayor-gregory-schmidt.jpgThe suddenness and lack of meaningful discussion of the Mayor’s scheme to inject chemical additives into Croton’s water has alarmed many residents. Historically, so-called “brown water” in certain Harmon and Croton neighborhoods has been a problem in this village for as long as we can remember.

In part, it is the result of faultily designed dead-end water lines that limit active flow of water. But we were always assured that it posed no problem to health. Suddenly, it has become a threat as serious as bubonic plague—the “Black Death”—that swept across Europe and Asia in the 14th century.

Croton residents deserve better treatment at the hands of its elected officials.

Crotonblog questions the headlong rush to attempt to correct this condition precipitously and without careful study. Simply stated, our concerns are that chemical additives could be injurious to the health of residents, particularly infants and growing children, and to the elderly with weakened or compromised immune systems.

All the assurances of the safety of this scheme by the contractor who stands to profit from a no-bid contract with the Village count for naught.

The Need for Answers
Aside from being hastily cobbled together and sprung on residents like a Halloween surprise, other significant and unsavory aspects of the Mayor’s scheme should be addressed before Croton moves ahead:

  1. Failure of the Village to explore alternatives to additives, such as inexpensive filtration devices under kitchen sinks in older homes where lead may be a problem. It’s easier to remove lead from water than it is to remove the additive zinc orthophosphate.

  2. Failure of the Village to seek the advice of an independent consultant about relevant health issues—someone other that the contractor who stands to profit from this scheme.

  3. Failure of the Village to investigate the experience of other communities.

  4. Failure of the Village to consider the environmental effect of the additives.

  5. The “sweetheart” no-bid contract, which was probably written by the contractor.

Readers will note the repeated appearances of the phrase, “Failure of the Village …” Of course, the contractor attempting to sell the Village on the idea of injecting chemical additives (for a big chunk of our money) thinks it’s a great idea. And so does the Mayor, who has relentlessly spearheaded this charade, and insists on describing his impatient, ill-advised actions as “proactive.” His repeated assurances of the safety of unnecessary additives bring to mind our dentist’s words as he begins to drill, “You’re not going to feel this at all.”

Scare Tactics
And then there’s the Mayor’s transparent attempt to scare residents with his own version of “weapons of mass destruction” by raising the specter of imminent lead and copper poisoning. The nation fell for similar tactics in the lead-up to the war in Iraq—and look at what such gullibility brought us!

Crotonblog’s advice is this: It’s a problem that has its roots in the distant past, one that has been developing for a long, long time. Let’s all slow down and study the problem and alternative solutions before mindlessly plunging ahead.

Before embarking on a course from which there may be no turning back, let’s study the alternatives and make a calculated decision based on the totality of the scientific evidence and the cost/benefit ratio of the choices available. We urge this not in the name of our generation, but in the name of all the children and elderly, now and in the future, who may have to pay the price for our ill-considered decision.

Crotonblog does not share the Mayor’s willingness to throw dice in a crap game involving the health of Croton’s citizenry.

A Challenge to the Mayor
We invite the Mayor to respond by offering more concrete proof of the seriousness of the problem than his spurious claim that “Consumer Reports magazine is about to publish a major article on lead.” The magazine flatly denies this. Need we say more?

P.S. In all the years that Gregory Schmidt has served in public office, he has never been willing to respond to public questions about his actions. Therefore, Crotonblog is not holding its collective breath this time around. It’s up to residents to make their feelings known about this monumental gaffe. The next Village Board meeting is Monday, October 15, 2007.


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