Blooming Grove - Today, March 29, the Spring Lake Cottages remain a green slime color after developers at Clovewood put an additive in the water about 5 miles away. The additive remains a mystery with reports of it either being a chemical to reduce the turbidity they caused by a massive spread of improper grading, or some kind of "simple dye" to obscure the drainage damage they have caused. Nine Cease & Desist orders and a $228,000 fine have clearly had no effect on the owner and developer. Blooming Grove officials and residents want to know "What on earth, and how much of it, have turned our waterways a grayish neon blue and then scummy green."
Residents spoke with and listened to the Town Blooming Grove Supervisor, Rob Jeroloman for about an hour over their fears of toxicity in the water as well as a new problem at yet another site on Prospect Road that the same developer did yet more massive clear-cutting on, again without permits, the previous week. Jeroloman said he is frustrated with the process and failure of DEC to follow up on a WHAT the mixture was that caused bright blue and green discoloration in waterways through the town, including the Moodna Creek. Response from DEC has been that they "Don't think there is likely anything toxic about it", but still haven't come up with any actual analysis. The Town has sent samples out for testing, but he said that different labs test for different toxic substances, and they still don't have all of those results back. Asked why no one has been able to get a simple manufacturing tag with ingredients, he said that given the developer's history of deceit, that would not guarantee either the makeup of the additive, or its interaction with the contents of the turbid water, or that the particular bucket they showed some inquirers was the only thing they treated the water with, especially given the odd reaction of the water which began as blue and turned a putrid green. He agreed with residents that DEC has dropped the ball on the problem, and added that with the testing resources DEC has they would be able to fully test samples in a few days, and yet they can only say what they think is "not" in the water, rather what "is" in the water. Then there is the issue of HOW MUCH of whatever they poured into the waterways that was potent enough to travel all the way to Perry Creek, Round Hill Road, and the Moodna.
An additional concern, Jeroloman said, its potential effect on livestock and wildlife. What about the cattle at Udderly Fresh Farm, and the milk they produce. And what about the fish? Fishing season is about to open. Will the fish they catch be safe to eat? He said that to him it was likely a chemical, and that it presented a public health concern.
And what about the Great Bear pipe that hikers and people with summer cabins and those with other water issues line up with jugs to fill every day. Should a sign be put up that says "Don't drink this water". And then what do those people do?
A resident who lives near the main construction site pointed out that with NINE Cease & Desist orders from DEC that the property owner and developer ignored, "We can't trust them or what they say." He added that the greater problem may be that neither can we trust the DEC. "We don't want to become Newburgh, where it took years to acknowledge the seriousness of the PFAS contents in their drinking water and the life-threatening illnesses it caused." He added that IF completed, just think of the massive runoff from impervious surfaces at both Clovewood and Prospect Gardens. "IF any of this runoff is toxic, it could take years (like it did in Newburgh) to leach into our wells and aquifer and result in casualty numbers."
Resident Ryne Kitzrow pointed out a host of other problems that the negligence of these builders is likely to cause. He asked the Town Board and other residents to remember the flooding (which overflowed by his home in the Satterly Creek) that we just spent years to correct?" The clear-cutting up at the Clovewood site causing this turbidity is now magnified by more clear-cutting at the intersection of Clove Road and now the third site of massive deforestation on Prospect (again without permits). The potential flooding from all of this deforestation could have disastrous effects for the Kitzrow family, where the overflowing of the Satterly Creek closed the road in front of their home.
Supervisor Jeroloman did not mince words about what they will do to protect the Town. He warned that if an Article 78 lawsuit by the Town is required, we will go to the Supreme Court if necessary." He said "Even the surveys for this 'Prospect Gardens' development are wrong. The maps they sent the Town show that part of Prospect Road as belonging to the Village of South Blooming Grove. But the Town actually owns that Part of Prospect Road on the East side, all the way to Lake Hildegard." The developer would have to get permission from Blooming Grove and go through a Planning Board process to gain access to the proposed homes, unless they run access roads back to Route 208. Either option would cause serious traffic issues.
At present, the years of teaching towns and residents by the DEC and other environmentalists have resulted in a very savvy community, one that will not tolerate a flawed process that endangers the water they rely on.
The numbers proposed for "Prospect Gardens" and the erroneous process with which they are beginning it will have a public hearing on April 20. Stay tuned for the plans, the combined numbers (which would more than double the Village's population) and the public's reaction following that session.
As for the green slime still in some ponds, pools and creeks, we are left with a question. Even if the DEC and DOH were to step up and do some testing now, would the results even be reasonably accurate given the time lapse between today and the nearly month ago the additive entered the waterways?
Clovewood Project where basins overflowed when developer ignored DEC Cease & Desist Permits for improper and unpermitted construction