CAPE VINCENT The town board Thursday voted to conduct a ground survey on Cape Vincents Water District 2 because of a suspicion that outside users of neighboring properties were making unauthorized private hookups to the public water system.
In a 4-0 vote, with Councilman Mickey W. Orvis recusing himself, the town agreed to hire Fourth Coast Inc., Clayton, to conduct the two- to four-week survey and determine how many private connections have been made and whether there are health and sanitation issues.
The survey is expected to cost Cape Vincent up to $2,000.
Town Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey said the town board believes there have been six or seven unofficial hookups since the district was created 15 years ago.
The district, created in 1997, draws water from the Development Authority of the North Countrys regional water line on Favret Road.
It includes only three users: Donald J. Mason, a former town councilman, Wesley A. Bourcy and a Hell Street property owned by Darrel J. Aubertine and his wife, Margaret S., according to Jefferson Countys tax map.
However, district residents seemed offended to learn the towns plan and questioned why they were being targeted.
Ive got nothing to hide, Mr. Mason said Thursday. Are you also going to check every trailer park and every house?
Councilman John L. Byrne III said while Water District 2 users are in compliance with the districts rules, the town may be in violation of its agreement with DANC and could be held liable if something were to go wrong.
Town officials also hope the survey will help them form a legitimate, expanded Water District 2.
There are geographic boundaries to this district. The problem is that we have users who are drawing water through this district that are not within the geographic boundaries, town attorney Mark G. Gebo said. Generally speaking, the regulatory agencies, when Ive had to deal with them on these issues, dont like the concept of outside users. If you are going to add somebody to the district, thats fine. But expand the geographic boundary and bring them in.
This is for a variety of reasons, Mr. Gebo said.