Is Village of Caledonia water soft enough?

   Residents in the Village of Caledonia had become accustomed to the hardness of their water supply over the years. Most home owners had installed water softeners to reduce the naturally occurring high mineral content that left deposits on their faucets, made laundry dingy and dried out the skin.

   Since changing the water source from its underground wells to receiving Monroe County water inside the village, the question many customers are asking is, "Does the Monroe County water that Village of Caledonia customers are receiving, need to be treated by a softener?"

   The hardness level of the well water that flowed to village customers for more than 100 years was about 20 gpg (grains per gallon). According to Catherine VanHorne, executive director of the Livingston County Water and Sewer Authority, Caledonia receives their water from the Shoremont Plant located in Greece, north of the city of Rochester. The Monroe County Water Authority website shows that Mumford customers also receive their water from the Shoremont Plant. The water hardness is between 5.6 and 7.6 gpg, which are considered moderately hard but well below what Caledonia customers had been used to with their underground well water at 20 gpg.

   Village of Caledonia Water and Street Superintendent Chris Buckley says it is not recommended that customers need to soften the water now being used in the village. However, he says it is up to the individual customer. He says the switch over to Monroe County water was seamless and he has not received any negative comments from customers regarding their service and/or the quality of the water.

   Donald Estabrooks, a local installer of water softeners, recommends that customers may choose to soften the water but says it is not necessary to soften to the extent that they did with the former well water.

   "Customers in Caledonia should reset their water softeners to a different hardness level but not eliminate them," Estabrooks commented.

   The MCWA treats the water coming to Mumford and Caledonia at the Shoremont Plant. Coagulants are removed through a filtration system; chlorine is used as a disinfectant and fluoride is added to prevent tooth decay, the website reports.

   There is no additional treatment done to the water at the Caledonia plant. Data on residual levels of chlorine are being collected and Buckley says it may be necessary to add a chlorination station in the future. For now, workers are collecting three bacterialogical samples a month, four disinfection byproduct samples a year, lead and copper samples and a daily turbidity level sample.

   The villageís water treatment plant, which included the air stripper, has been dismantled as have the service pumps and treatment stations. The brick building at the corner of Park Place and East Avenue will become the water departmentís shop and storage facility.

   And though the new water flowing through the village pipes to individual customers is working seamlessly with no complaints, there are many in the community who very much miss the unique taste of the fresh spring fed "Caledonia water."

   The New York State Health Department and the Environmental Protection Agency evaluated water supplies statewide and identified the village well as a source susceptible to possible contamination due to its location and shallow depth. Tests found trace amounts of some contaminants though levels were well below the stateís established maximum contaminant level and posed no health threat to consumers of the water. The Village of Caledonia was mandated to comply with the regulation to address the potential for contamination. Decommissioning the local wells and switching to Monroe County water was the least expensive option available, the village board decided after months of engineering studies.

   "Iím still very disappointed that we had to close our plant. I look inside well No. 1 everyday and know there is absolutely nothing wrong with the water," Buckley said.


Monroe County water now flowing to Village customers

   Two hand-dug wells have provided Village of Caledonia residents with a plenteous supply of fresh spring water for more than 100 years are now an entity of the past.

   History was made when after more than two years of planning, residents now have Monroe County water flowing to the faucets in their homes. The Village DPW completely stopped the current local well water from flowing and are delivering Monroe County water to its one thousand customers on June 1st. Customers should not see any difference in their water delivery, but may notice improved quality in the water, as it is not as hard, meaning less mineral content. The current water's hardness level is 20 grains per gallon as compared with Monroe County water, which is about 6--8 grains per gallon.

   Engineering studies estimated the cost of the water conversion to be $100 thousand. Mayor Joe Caluorie worked with Sen. Dale Volker, R-NY 59th District, to receive a grant to cover the costs associated with the project.

   Water and Street Supervisor Chris Buckley says the telemetry system had to be working properly before the water system could undergo the change over.

   The telemetry gauges are located inside the water treatment plant. It monitors the level of water in the two village-owned water towers.

   The DPW crew has been working on that system, getting ready for the change. When the change occurred, Buckley stopped the flow of water from the local well and started the Monroe County water flowing at the underground meter on West Main Street.

   Caledonia water customers have enjoyed a very low usage rate of $2.25 per 1,000 gallons, with the village having owned its own plenteous supply of water. The village charges a flat $20 meter charge, included in the total bill.

   Final bills calculated with that rate will be mailed to customers on July 1, 2009.

   After that, customers will see a rate increase to $5.00 per thousand gallons of usage. The $20 meter charge will remain unchanged. The first billing reflecting the new rates will be issued on October 1.

   The rate increase is necessary, Caluorie said, because the village is still responsible for all maintaining the water system, including regular testing and maintenance on the two water towers.

   It cost the village nearly $100 thousand each to paint the interior of the towers; one located on West Main Street and the other on Graney Road.

   The village is still paying on a 30-year, $500 thousand bond taken five years ago to complete a major water line project along State Street. The village clerk will continue to maintain the billing to water customers.

   Changes to the water system resulted from a New York State Health Department regulation of municipal ground water (well) systems, the village was required to abandon it's over 100-year old water source, which originates from fresh underground springs located in the town, and connect to the Monroe County Water Authority.

   After testing the village's two wells in 2006, located on Park Place, the state health department concluded that the shallow wells could potentially be susceptible to environmental contaminants from runoff, thus mandating that the wells be decommissioned.



Village of Caledonia Mayor Joe Caluorie and Water and Street Supervisor Chris Buckley stand at the underground meter pit where the line owned by Livingston County Water and Sewer Authority and delivering water from Monroe County Water Authority, connects to village water lines.


Village cuts through red tape to secure MC water

   Mayor Joe Caluorie told the village board at their February 3 meeting that the change over to Monroe County water is one step closer and says there is a light at the end of the bureaucratic tunnel.

   The village is waiting for approval of its engineering plans that were submitted in August 2008 to the New York State Health Department outlining the details of the change of source water for its 1,000 customers. The village also filed a request with the New York Department of Environment Conservation for the necessary permit to make the change; that is expected to be issued very soon, Caluorie said. The village needs to receive these necessary approvals before the local well water can be turned off and the valve turned on the Monroe County water line. The mayor says all of the necessary work on the villageís side of this project is complete and the DPW is ready for the change over when the green light is given.

   The other facet of this major project is the decommissioning of the village wells that have provided water to the residents of the Village of Caledonia for over 100 years. The village has provided the governing agencies the appropriate plans for this process as well. The village was approved for a state grant through NY Senator Dale Volkerís, 59th District office to fund the nearly $100 thousand water project.

   Ironically, while the water discussion was going on in the regular board meeting, DPW workers were still working into the dark hours of the evening on a broken water line on Main Street. Workers repaired the line and water service was restored to customers in that area by early evening. The village is working on implementing a software program that will track water data and issue regular reports and customer statements.

   Caledonia Library President Kathleen Brown spoke to the board about library services and enhancements planned in the next year. Caledonia Library patrons borrowed nearly 20 thousand books last year. The association will begin the process of finding a replacement for 28-year veteran Librarian Kathy Hartness, who is retiring in May 2009. The Town and Village of Caledonia share equally in substantial funding annually for the Caledonia Library.

   The board continues to be updated on a North Street property that does not comply with zoning codes. The code enforcement officer says the property owners have been notified of the action that must take place to become compliant and, to date, there has been no action taken. The fire department has deemed the building on the property unsafe and has directed firefighters to not enter the building in the event of a fire, but to fight the fire from the exterior only. The board and the village attorney directed the CEO to take the necessary proceedings in the matter that would require the property owners to address the infractions or face proceedings in State Supreme Court.

   Sergeant in Charge David Richardson presented his monthly report to the board and said the Caledonia Police Department answered 39 calls for assistance in the month of January. Officers regularly assist local businesses at opening and closing times. A school resource officer is present during scheduled times at Caledonia-Mumford Central School and is available for assistance at all other times.

   The board approved a request from Cal-Mum Youth Football to use Washburn Park for practices during the summer and fall. Parking around the park area has become a problem that the board is seeking a solution to. Neighbors in the park area, specifically on Fairview Place and Iroquois Road, have said the vehicle congestion causes a safety concern not only for their entering and exiting their homes but also for the safety of other motorists and pedestrians in the area.

   The board is holding budget workshops February 22, March 1 and 8 at 11:15 a.m. in the village building. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for March 3, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. in the village building.


Village of Caledonia water plans held up at NYS Health

   The Village of Caledonia continues to wait for approval of their engineering design plans from the NYS Health Department for the change over from its local water source to purchasing water from Monroe County Water Authority.

   Mayor Joe Caluorie says the village submitted its plans months ago and is anxious to finish the water project for its customers but cannot do so until the state health department approves the plans and gives the village the go ahead.

   This discussion was held at the January 6 monthly board meeting.

   The village CEO is dealing with a property owner who building violates several local building and fire codes. The property is considered a danger to firefighting personnel and therefore the fire departmentís stance in the event of a structure fire, is to fight the fire from the outside but to not permit firefighters to enter the building, because it is unsafe. The CEO plans to notify a North Street rental property owner of the violations occurring there regarding proper disposal of garbage and refuse.

   Street Supervisor Chris Buckley reported that the DPW had significant clean up to complete following two wind storms that went through the area in late December and early January. The DPW has also completed numerous hours of overtime attempting to keep up with snow removal on streets, sidewalks, parking lots and the business district. Buckley reported that water consumption is higher than normal; up about one million gallons from what is typical for this time of year.

   A guest of the board discussed the upcoming Trailways to Treasures event that includes villages along Routes 5 and 20 from Lima to Caledonia. More information will be published about the event in the near future.


$100 thousand state grant makes Caledonia water project
easier to swallow

   Just about a year ago the Village of Caledonia was notified that it would have to abandon its local water system and connect to the Monroe County Water Authority to supply water to its 1,000 customers. As the village investigated the process of decommissioning the 100-year old hand-dug wells and connecting to the MCWA line already in place on the west side of the village, it soon became clear that it was going to cost the village about $100,000 to complete. Mayor Joe Caluorie met with state Sen. Dale Volker, R-N.Y. 59th District, to talk about possible state grant funding to help with the costs and wrote the official request. Recently, Volkerís office notified the mayor that the request was approved and the village will be receiving $100,000, which is expected to cover virtually all of the costs associated with the water project.

   "Receiving the state grant funding will definitely take the sting out of this process for our taxpayers. We appreciate Sen. Volkerís assistance with our request," the mayor commented.

   The Livingston County Health Department was the local agency who last year passed down the information to the village regarding a recent EPA regulation that identified the Village of Caledonia well water as "ground water under influence," or GWUI, meaning that the well is under significant risk for surface contamination because of its location and shallow depth. The USEPA placed water supplies that are GWUI, under a regulation called, "Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule.

   Mayor Caluorie, Water and Street Supervisor Chris Buckley and J.P. Schepp, engineer for the village began talks with Cathy Muscarella, executive director of Livingston County Water and Sewer Authority, and representatives of the MCWSA, to determine the details and estimate the costs associated with the project.

   "The LCWSA purchases water from MCWA and sells it wholesale to the village at $1.83 cents per thousand gallons," Muscarella says.

   The LCWSA owns the water lines on Rt. 5 in the village and has a connection there to the MC water line. The water will come from Lake Ontario via this line, located near the Caledonia water tower. LCWSA also owns a parallel water line running down Spring Street to Mumford.

   Customers will not notice any change in service, Buckley says, except in the water quality, which will have noticeably less mineral content. The village DPW will continue to maintain the pipes, conduct sample tests, read meters and bill customers for their water usage.

   From the customerís point of view, the switch is seamless, however, there is much preparation work to be completed and that is where the grant funding will make the whole project a little easier for taxpayers to swallow. The existing wells will have to be disconnected from the water lines, new lines installed in some cases and additional meters placed on some properties that were not billed for their water consumption, such as churches in the community. The village and the health department are still in the process of reaching an agreement on how exactly to shut down two of the villageís three wells. Caluorie says he would like to see the village keep one of the wells for non-potable purposes for use in emergency situations.

   "I am addressing this with state and local authorities and have received calls of support from other county and town leaders. With the major water supply problems that face some states, it doesnít make sense to destroy a natural water supply that produces 500 gallons a minute," Caluorie explained.

   The air stripper, which is located inside the water treatment building on Park Place, will no longer be needed. Caluorie says the village will dismantle it and sell it for scrap metal. In the meantime, the DPW continues its work on meters and lines to get ready for the projected September switch over to MCWA for customers in the Village of Caledonia.