Letter to the Editor from OWLA President, Joe Wasileski:
AUBURN TO HALT OWLA WATER TESTING PROGRAM
For the last 20 years OWLA (Owasco Watershed Lake Association) has been testing 26 sites around Owasco Lake for fecal coliforms and turbidity. Twenty volunteers performed this important work. This was extremely useful information to many people and agencies including the Cayuga County Health Department and Parks Department and the Finger Lakes Institute. The actual lab work was performed by the city of Auburn.
In July, 2009, the Auburn City Manager sent OWLA a letter which was a termination notice. Various meetings followed, and it was indeed true. We were devastated and in a state of disbelief. It was also noted, that the city manager wanted to re-negotiate the watershed inspector contract. Auburn and Owasco who are the sole suppliers of drinking water for 50,000 people in this area have the Legal Responsibility for performing inspections of the Watershed of Owasco Lake.
Almost a year has passed, along with multiple letters and meetings, and the testing season is now here. We have met with all four Auburn councilors and the mayor and they unanimously support our position that testing be continued and expanded along with the Watershed Inspector position. They promised to take action.
The budget will be decided within the next 10 days. Please call or write your councilor and the mayor and urge them to reverse this decision and re-instate OWLA water testing and strengthen the Watershed Inspector position. The monetary amount is indeed minor; as most of it is paid by a pass-through to water users.
A penny-wise is a pound foolish when Owasco Lake is concerned. Our drinking water is indubitably our most precious resource.
Dr. Joseph Wasileski