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A Practical Plan to Solve Croton’s Water Problems—and End the Additive Controversy

November 14, 2007

An undetermined number of Croton residents are unhappy with the Mayor’s plan to inject chemical additives into Croton’s famously pure water. In the absence of any questionnaire circulated among residents, the exact number of people who are for or against this proposal has not been determined.

Freedom of choice is one of the benefits of democracy. We are free to get a flu shot or to decline to get one. We are free to send our children to public schools, private schools, and church schools or to school them at home. We are free to vote or not to vote, although too many of us are too lazy to show up at the polls.

Crotonblog detects signs indicating that additives are now a done deal. What is so annoying about the present controversy is that freedom of choice is being taken from the residents of Croton and placed in the hands of three elected officials, none of whom are health professionals or biochemists.

If a national bottling company were to approach Croton with a proposal to bottle Croton’s water, this village would fall over itself to facilitate such a venture. It has even considered—although not very seriously—the idea of bottling Croton water itself. A bottling company, we might add, would only be interested in Croton water before chemical additives were injected into it.

It so happens that the presence of chemical additives has no effect on the human body in water used for dishwashing, clothes washing, bathing and showering, even tooth brushing because no water is ingested in the process. Crotonblog has devised a plan so beautiful in its simplicity and practicality that the Schmidt administration would be foolish to turn it down.

Under Crotonblog’s plan residents could obtain “old-fashioned” Croton water without derailing the proposal to inject additives into the water. Because the additive program requires a separate building, there would be ample opportunity for the village to divert water before the chemical additives are injected.

Crotonblog’s plan would work as follows: The village would “invest” in a supply of five-gallon jerrycans, similar to the model pictured below, such as are used by the military. These would be filled at the pumping station with old-fashioned Croton water. The filled jerry cans would be transported to the municipal garage, a location already used for pickup of village-supplied recycling products.

Coleman Expandable 5 Gallon Water Carrier

Jerrycans filled with potable Croton water would be purchasable at the municipal garage by Croton residents during usual business hours. A nominal deposit would be added initially to cover the cost of the jerrycan. Upon return of the empty jerrycan no additional deposit would be required. This is not unlike the arrangements at the independent small breweries springing up all across the country (see Captain Lawrence Brewing Company in Pleasantville, New York).

The village seeks income-producing schemes like the station parking lot. Although the income produced by selling water and five-gallon units might be modest, the village might be surprised at the size of the profit generated. As we said, the village would fall all over itself to accommodate a national bottling company wishing to purchase original Croton water in an unadulterated state. Why not do the same for Croton’s taxpaying residents?

Crotonblog foresees a brisk business in old-fashioned Croton water. The beauty part of this idea is that both factions would be accommodated. Those who have no objection to ingesting additives could drink and use all the additive-laden water they want in cooking, Those who prefer not to ingest chemical additives would have an unlimited supply of potable water for drinking and cooking.

And both factions could live happily ever after—or at least until 2009 when the question of additives could become an issue in the next mayoral election.


On November 18, 2007 2:29 PM, TeaDrinker said:

The idea of selling uncontaminated Croton water to residents is a supreme stroke of genius. I sincerely hope this village will see the wisdom of this genuinely proactive suggestion. If the mayor should stupidly decline to undertake this enterprise because of previous differences with and his enmity for the source of the suggestion, all village residents would be the losers by being deprived of control over what they put in their bodies. In the event of that shortsighted decision, I can easily see how some entrepreneurial-minded young person would see the opportunities in such a venture and undertake to deliver water to Croton residents free of zinc orthophosphate even if the village will not. All that would be needed is a van (or even the family sedan) and a supply of jerrycans and, voila, a business would be born that would require only a few hours’ work each day, at least at the outset. Would that I were twenty years younger!

Nevertheless, the village is the natural entity for this venture and should jump at the opportunity. I would be among the first to partake in this service. Despite the assurances of the village’s experts, I do not want to ingest zinc any more than I want to ingest copper or lead. I once made some repairs to my house using galvanized nails (nails hot-dipped in zinc). As carpenters are wont to do, I put small batches of nails in my mouth to facilitate nailing while standing on a tall ladder. Days later I suffered attacks of nausea and vomiting that the emergency room physicians attributed to holding the zinc-coated galvanized nails in my mouth. Needless to say, I won’t ever do that again. It’s obvious that one can overdose on zinc.

P.S. Don’t let the Schmidt administration attempt to say that there is no time to make plans for such a service as has been proposed. Adding chemical additives to Croton water requires a separate building to house the additional equipment. This cannot be accomplished overnight. But a village administration that can quickly set up a system to prey upon village residents shopping in privately owned parking lots can certainly set up a system like the one proposed to serve village residents.

On November 17, 2007 10:18 AM, dors said:

Love the idea of a bottled water from Croton but I fear Schmidt and his cohorts will hijack the plan. Martha Stewart tried to patent a ‘Katonah’ brand of home goods and furniture and the town lambasted her. Because the mayor and his cronies didn’t come up with the idea of the bottled water they’ll probably oppose it. Sadly, that seems to be the theme of Croton politics of late.

On November 16, 2007 12:29 AM, Just The Facts said:


There is no reason to get defensive. I think it is great when young people get involved in government as it effects us all. In fact, a good case can be made that government actions effects the youth more as they will be the ones forced to fix what the elders screw up or reap the benefits of what they create.

Nevertheless, you are being extremely naive if you believe Mayor Schmidt is going to care if a bunch of high school kids show up at the meeting. Lately it seems that Mayor Schmidt respects no one. They teach you in school that democracy means one person, one vote — but thats not how the system works. It doesn’t work that way in D.C. and it doesn’t work that way at Village Hall. Taxpayers count for more in Mayor Schmidt’s administration pure and simple. If you want to effect change here, you have to realize the system’s short commings and work with their constraints.

On November 15, 2007 9:51 PM, KWilly said:

Mr. Facts,

1) I am not in high school, i graduated last year and i have been in contact with Juniors and Seniors who are involved in this club. These students will be of voting age on March 2009.

2) The Mayor and his pals may not listen to their youth constituents, but they are forced to listen to a youth constituent at a village board meeting and they are not forced to listen to an anonymous blogger.

3) What we are trying to do is to have a lot of speakers at Citizen Participation and the younger constituents are citizens. If Citizen Participation was just for taxpayers it would be called Taxpayer Participation. I think it says a lot if a young person speaks at a village board meeting especially if his parents aren’t involved in local politics. It shows that the Student is taking the initiative on his own to get involved in the political process.

4) In general we need to get our young citizens involved in the political process. A lot of our young citizens are apathetic about politics because they don’t see a connection to their lives. Our water supply has a direct impact on their lives so they have a piece of the pie. Some day they will lead our village just like CHHS Graduates Charlie Kane and Bob Elliot will tell you.

5) Emailing people is a great idea, but we need to be careful. This is a very complex issue and each side is simplifying it. Take the time to explain it and to focus on policy and refrain from personal attacks.

Kevin W. Davis

On November 15, 2007 8:57 PM, Just The Facts said:


Don’t take this the wrong way. but we all know that the Mayor and his dyanmic duo will not take high schoolers seriously. The only one the mayor may listen to would be taxpayers. I am not condoning this short sighted view, but it is what it is. You know this all to well as indicated in some of your earlier posts.

But, KWilly, you have a very powerful and unique resource available to you that you should consider using. The Croton Schools are the only place where a resident of a majority of the households of Croton gather each day. If the environmental club publicizes this issue and encourages students to tell their parents and bring their parents to the Board Meeting, we can easily get more than 20 people to show up and speak.

Additionally, I would encourage everyone reading this to do what I am going to do — email everyone I know in Croton and let them know about this issue and encourage them, if they share our views, to show up at the Village Board Meeting. There are at least 10 or 15 people reading this exchange right now — if each of us agree to do two simple things: (i) show up at the Board Meeting and (ii) email three to five of their neighbors then we will have an amazing turn out.


On November 15, 2007 2:37 PM, KWilly said:

Mr. Facts,

I think that’s a great idea and I have already been recruiting people to speak or show up. Some of our High School students are in a club that is involved in Environmental Issues and i gave them some info on the ZOP situation. Some are hoping that they can make it to either show support or speak. The issue that grabs them is the over the Environmental impact of ZOP in the Hudson. They are concerned on the issue of the ZOP and the waste water treatment process since ZOP would have a negative impact on the Hudson if it can’t be taken out of our waste water. I don’t think we have enough time to get 100 but if we get 10-20, it would be a good number. If that’s 10-20 people speaking for 5 minutes that takes up 50-100 minutes. The grassroots solution is a great idea but it is easier said then done. Let’s see if we can get media coverage. Even if it’s passed there still will be a fight and a price to be pay for those against the delay.

Kevin W. Davis

On November 15, 2007 2:03 PM, Just The Facts said:

We really need to draw up an action plan. Lets not give up until we have to. I think we need to inform our friends and neighbors of whats going on — most of whom are completely in the dark on this. Further, I think our goal should be to get as many people as possible to show up at the village meeting this monday. Imagine if we got 100 people to show up, all of whom insisted on speaking at the podium in opposition to this plan.

We can either do this as a grass roots type of thing “tell your neighbor” type of thing or we can try to do it more formally, perhaps comming up with the text of an email that we can each send to our neighbors and friends. It really could be a chain reaction type of thing. Weewill, KWilly thoughts?

On November 15, 2007 1:44 PM, KWilly said:

For those who are concerned about this issue, it is not enough to comment on CrotonBlog or to talk to your friends. The mayor and his supporters are making it blatantly obvious that they plan to put this to a vote on Monday. Therefore if you believe that the issue shouldn’t be voted on until we know EVERYTHING, then you need to speak up at the Village Board Meeting on Monday at 8 pm. If you don’t want to speak on Monday, showing up shows a powerful message that people are watching the Village Board. You have nothing to lose except for a few hours on a weeknight. We need to bring out a lot of people for Monday and have them prolong the meeting by asking a lot of questions and bringing up good points. There are two possible positive outcomes that can come out from this:

1) The Village Board decides to table the resolution and attempts to work with the people on something that we can all agree on.

2) The people who watch the Village Board Meeting have a better idea on what side our representatives are on. This will mean payback for our representatives that vote against our interests on March 2009.

Kevin W. Davis

On November 15, 2007 12:47 PM, TeaDrinker said:

Congratulations, Crotonblog! You folks have come up with a great plan. Croton’s pure water has always been Croton’s trademark. In fact, it’s the reason (along with schools and a fast commute) that people bought homes here. Changing the purity of Croton’s water, especially for the shaky reasons advanced, would be like melting down Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell for its metal content.

Your proposal is one that Mayor Schmidt and his cohorts can’t refuse. If they have any political smarts (and I’m not sure they do), they’ll jump at the chance to put down a rising tide of discontent with the way the village is being run. It’s been nothing but smoke and mirrors. We’ve had sewer rents instituted so that they could say they reduced taxes, phony water bills sent out to scare residents, and a proposed community center that will never be built. The additive plan was a “done deal” from the start but met unexpected resistance.

I like the idea of getting untainted Croton water in jerrycans and jugs. Newcomers to Croton don’t know this, but spring water once issued from the hillside at the head of Bungalow Road and flowed down to the Duck Pond. This spring water had a reputation of having curative powers, and people would come from all over to fill bottles and jugs and casks with the sweet-tasting water. The stream bed it flowed into is now buried under three houses, the kiddy playground, basketball courts and ball field, but it still flows into the Duck Pond. In the early days the Duck Pond was called Spring Lake for obvious reasons, and ice was cut from it every winter.

On November 15, 2007 11:24 AM, weewill said:

Red Hill Resident tells it like it is.

These same “goofs who spewed and sputtered (lied!) about supposed dangerous toxins coming into town to the rail transfer station” are now attempting to dictate the addition of chemicals to our water system. It makes no sense whatsoever. Their blatant hypocrisy is shameful. They fear mongered for years about unidentified particulates in the air; perceived toxic runoff, poisonous gases, lead and asbestos poisoning, dangers to unborn babies and old people, obnoxious fumes and filth and dirt. They cost the village hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs (and the end still is not in sight) and now they advocate a chemical additive that is far from proven to be safe. It defies all reason!

And make no mistake about it …. the “shame and the outrage” that got us to this point was perpetrated by the very same few people. They have taken over village government by spewing fear for pure political advantage just as Washington politicians run the country.

On November 15, 2007 10:41 AM, red hill resident said:

This whole situation pains me deeply. I feel as impotent against the onslaught of the local vocal minority as I do against the gang in charge in Washington. How did we get to this point? Croton has become so divided I don’t know if the rift can ever be repaired. The majority of this board does not represent me nor anyone I know in the village. Further, its a sham and an outrage that the same goofs who spewed and sputtered (lied!) about the supposed dangerous toxins coming into town to the rail transfer station are now advocating chemicals in the water system. Its time to take the gloves off folks…lets get some candidates with some teeth and the willingness to bear them. I want my town back!

On November 15, 2007 9:21 AM, weewill said:

Interesting idea Crotonblog - but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it to happen.

One thing stands out loud and clear - “could become an election issue.” This is a must and also very simple. Our votes will go to those who vote “Nay” on adding more chemicals to our water. And be asssured we’ll ask each candidate for a simple and direct “yea” or “nay” answer to our questions.

I’d also suggest that we only vote for candidates who read emails and local blog posts. These are the best and most effective tools for good communication. Officials interested in residents’ opinions must avail themselves of this 21st century technology.


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