My view

Milford Aquifer threatened by development

Part two

By VITO DIBIASI
Posted 5/5/22

Milford’s community and legislative representatives have a stark choice.

Do they pursue door number one—protecting the Milford Aquifer/Springs for future generations? Will they meet …

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My view

Milford Aquifer threatened by development

Part two

Posted

Milford’s community and legislative representatives have a stark choice.

Do they pursue door number one—protecting the Milford Aquifer/Springs for future generations? Will they meet the challenge of climate change that will put enormous pressure on Sawkill Creek and the aquifer?

Or door number two—put a 500,000-square-foot warehouse smack in the middle, 2,800 feet from the Milford Springs and on top of an unconfined aquifer? The Town of Milford’s drinking water is under a shallow layer of sand and gravel, with no layers of protective bedrock.

Unconfined aquifers are notoriously sensitive to surface contaminants, because they are shallow and fast. I live at the edge of the Milford Aquifer and my well is only 30 feet deep. Pollutants can easily reach the Milford Springs 2,800 feet away.

The mass of impervious surface needed to support such a large warehouse structure and tractor-trailer port will change the Aquifer/Sawkill Stream water flow forever in detrimental, irreversible ways. That is scientific fact.

This puts the Friends of the Milford Aquifer at the forefront of leading the public in the right direction. We are limited in power. However, we have people power. Scientific direction. We have political persuasion with our votes and activism. We know that access to clean water is a human right, a Pennsylvania constitutional right, and is rooted in ethical and common sense.

We have economic reasons, because this could easily be a drastic boondoggle that could boomerang into an economic catastrophe within as little as three years. New Windsor, NY, put in a new water system to deal with contamination problems, only for it to fail within three years. The results? Contaminated, unusable wells. They had to bring in new expensive technology to filter out the PFAS (Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances), but still had to supplement their water supply with costly New York City water.

In the Newburgh, NY drinking water crisis, certain federal, state and local government agencies, along with private entities, neglected the Washington Lake reservoir watershed for many years, only for it to be taken offline due to PFAS contamination. The city then had to pay enormous prices to buy New York City water to replace their drinking water.

Where did that money come from?  You guessed it—taxpayer funds. It is always the taxpayer who is stuck with the bill for government and industry’s neglect or foolish mistakes. This is reality, not fantasy.

Plus, warehouse jobs are tenuous at best because automation is just around the corner, according to recent articles in Forbes, “Automation Is The Future Of Warehousing” (July, 2020) and “What’s Driving The Need For Robots In The Warehouse?” (Jan. 2022)

So which door do our leaders want to pursue? Door one or two? Which door are the voters/taxpayers going to let them choose? Who gets to choose the future health and welfare of our community? The powerful and well-connected who are willing to overlook critical aquifer circumstances needed for a town’s drinking water in the pursuit of profit or gain?

Voters have to guide them to make the right decisions on our behalf.  

We definitely are at a crossroads in this community, as well as others in the Delaware River Watershed and in watersheds across the nation. No one group can do this alone. So where is the team we need to assemble to tap into PENNVest program money? Where are the commissioners? Where are the definitive statements from our local municipalities and authorities?

We already missed the deadline on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-administered Delaware River Watershed Conservation Fund. Now we have to wait until next April 2023. Why?  Because of missed opportunities and inaction from local political personnel.

Are we similarly going to miss out on federal funding because of local political inaction? That would be a political travesty and a community failure of grand proportions.

We have primaries coming up. Please back the candidate who will pick the correct door to open. Will you help the Friends of the Milford Aquifer and aid our leaders and representatives to open the correct door? That is door number one: protecting the aquifer.

Vito DiBiasi lives in Milford, PA. He is a member of the Friends of the Milford Aquifer.

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