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Katonah, Water Conservation, water contamination, Westchester County

How Gas Drilling in the Catskills Affects Bedford Water Supply

Bedford and other Westchester towns are planning on obtaining water from the Delaware Aqueduct, a water source which is about to be contaminated for the next 1,000 years.  It is in fact, only an essentially permanent repercussion we’re talking about, said Howard Fifer, Katonah resident as we sat talking this morning at Perks coffee shop with Diane Lewis. Right now is our chance to stop this contamination from happening.

Diane is a writer for The Record Review and you can pick up this week’s paper to get her article which explains the full implications of the looming gas drilling  scheduled to begin soon in the Marcellus Shale region which extends from NY to VA.

Diane is passionate about protecting Katonah/Bedford water. She says,
Yes, I would like everyone to know about and be active in protesting hydrofracking in New York State. New York is our state, and we need to protect the water and forest land in this state.  We are fortunate to have had this land protected at the turn of the century providing NYC with perhaps the best municipal water supply in the country.  Water is the most precious resource, to squander it would be both foolish and unconscionable.  NYC is unique to have water and a bread basket in such proximity-we need to protect it.

Further, she explains that if allowed to proceed, this drilling will pollute the water in the Delaware Aqueduct .  This Aqueduct brings water to a number of Westchester towns and Bedford is planning to obtain water from this Aqueduct to supply the hamlets of Katonah and Bedford Hills.

She continues to explain what hydrofracking exactly is. (what great conversations we have over coffee at Perks!)  Energy companies are seeking permits to drill for natural gas.  The shale they want to drill in is deep, and the drilling once at this depth is lateral.  This requires about 1 mill gall of water per well, mixed with sand and petrochemicals for lubrication and to prevent corrosion.  The wastewater is then polluted with these chemicals and what are called radioactive norms.  That means normally occuring radioactive material.  It is normal at that depth, but an extreme hazard when brought to the surface.

The area they plan to drill in extends broadly from the Catskill region west, encompassing a large amount of NYS that would be polluted and deforested.

For a diagram of hydrofracking and further explanation of the NYS department of Health’s concerns over hydrofracking, and some of the other issues involved, visit this online article from site, and also the EARTHJUSTICE website.

What you can do:

1. Send in comments on the DSGEIS.  (generic environmental impact statement) The public comment timeframe has just been extended to December 31st, so that gives just another couple of weeks. Click here to submit comments.

2. Ask your federal representatives to co-sponsor the FRAC Act,which eliminates the Halliburton loophole in the Safe Drinking Water Act and requires disclosure of the chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing.  For Katonah, email Representative John Hall here.


Get involved! Come on out to to the Local Guys Cook Series at Gossett’s Indoor Farm Market, Saturdays in December!

Want to learn how to most effectively promote your cause? Come to Be the Media talk at the Ridgefield Library, Saturday, Dec 12th.

Want to learn how to utilize social media to convey your  message, or promote your small business? Join me at the Katonah Library, Sunday, Dec 13th with guest speaker David Mathison, former VP of Reuters, and author of Be the Media.

Join the local KatonahGreen conversation on Facebook or on Twitter!

About Heather Flournoy

I am a writer, social media connoisseur, environmentalist and professional marketer. My personal blog is and my professional website is I love people's stories, and a passionate cultivator of connections, both for myself and helping others to connect. Tell me who you are, what your story is, and I'll tell you who you should talk to. In my own view, I know some of the most interesting, colorful and profound people in the world. You know who you are. Besides all the above, I am proud to say I am a working class single mother who raised a beautiful daughter. I connect deeply with animals, especially horses. I love music, coffee shops, farmer's markets, growing my own food, sustainable agriculture, broad thinkers, the healing arts, and dive diners.


4 thoughts on “How Gas Drilling in the Catskills Affects Bedford Water Supply

  1. I heard about this recently on NPR. Hopefully you guys will be able to oppose the gas drilling. It is very harmful to the water ways and will do much harm to those that live in the surrounding area.

    It’s amazing what big business will try to do for the almighty dollar… with no regards to community or human life.

    Posted by Alexander Morentin | December 17, 2009, 11:08 pm


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