WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer recently urged U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to approve federal support for the Town of Westfield to make critical repairs to the Barcelona community's aging and damaged water lines.
Due to the outdated system, residents and businesses in the Hamlet of Barcelona have not had access to high-quality drinking water in recent months and have been forced to boil water for consumption or to purchase bottled water. The system has suffered water main breaks, causing pressure loss and inviting dangerous germs and harmful contaminants into the system. The town is seeking $1 million in federal funding and loans to help make these repairs, which would otherwise be a serious burden on ratepayers and local taxpayers.
"Clean water is absolutely essential for economic prosperity and public health, and Barcelona's system is far overdue for these important upgrades," Schumer said. "Left to shoulder the burden on their own, ratepayers and local taxpayers will have to carry the water - we can't let that happen. I'm strongly urging the USDA to invest in Chautauqua County's rural communities by helping make this repair project a reality. In this day and age, nobody in Upstate New York should be forced to spend their hard-earned money on bottled water because they don't have safe water themselves, or spend hours boiling the water they need. We need to get this fixed, and get it fixed soon."
Breaks, low pressure and other system issues plague water customers and the Town and Village which are working hard to keep the infrastructure operating. Additionally, business growth and development in Barcelona is hampered by an inconsistent and unreliable water supply. With USDA recapitalization funding, the Town of Westfield will take over and formalize it as a town-owned water district. Specifically, the town will replace its 4-inch and 1-inch piping with 12-inch and 8-inch piping, isolating the leaks and increasing the water pressure. USDA funding will help leverage public health improvements and community planning, smart growth, and development objectives.
A copy of the Senator's letter to Secretary Vilsack appears below:
The Honorable Tom J. Vilsack
U.S Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250
I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by the Town of Westfield for funding under the U.S. Department of Agriculture Water and Waste Disposal Program. Such funding will enable the Town of Westfield to conduct critical infrastructure repairs.
The Town of Westfield was founded in 1823 and is located along the shores of Lake Eire in Chautauqua County, New York. For eight years the Town of Westfield has had trouble with its water line system. The water line in the area is in need of major repair and is currently experiencing increased breaks and low water pressure. The area most affected by this trouble is the Hamlet of Barcelona, New York, were the state of the water lines has negatively affected the quality of the water in the area.
With funding, the Town of Westfield will be able to repair its water lines. Specifically, the town will replace its 4-inch and 1-inch piping with 12-inch and 8-inch piping, isolating the leaks and increasing water pressure. This plan will increase the quality of life for the residents of Westfield by allowing them to have access to a safe reliable source of public water, and I applaud the Town of Westfield for its foresight. I sincerely hope that the application meets with your approval.
Thank you for your consideration. If you need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me or my Grants Director, Grant Kerr, in my Washington, DC office at 202-224-6542.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator