The Alfred Water Crisis

Do you ever drink water from the Alfred tap and simply say, yuck? If you are like most of the community and students, drinking the water from the village has been an unpleasant experience and has left a disturbing aftertaste.


The 2019 Alfred water report warns the citizens that the water could be damaging if you are undergoing chemotherapy treatment, have undergone organ transplants, and for those with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders. The report even goes on to mention that infants and elderly people could be at risk from infections. The Public Works Superintendent didn’t return any calls for an interview.


This should raise some questions, especially since just in February of this year Alfred issued a boil water advisory, caused by a damaged water line. Alfred students were stuck without “clean” tap water. They were left to boil water every time water was going to be consumed even if they had a filtering system. The Governor granted roughly $4 million to the Village of Alfred to fix water related issues. The Village of Alfred only has $403,900 in their budget for the Water Department, stated in the 2020-2021 approved budget.


In 2018 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo released grants to Western New York of $23.3 million. Through this, the Village of Alfred received two grants. One being for the drinking water, and the other for clean water efforts. In total, the Village of Alfred received over $3 million in grants, according to governor.ny.gov.


“Every time I’ve drank from the tap in Alfred, “I haven’t felt so well. I’ve actually invested in a Berkey Water System, it cost me $280, but at least I can enjoy a glass of water while at school,” said Krystina Gauer, an Alfred University student who currently lives in the Village of Alfred.


“I think that for how much I pay to go to school here, the water should be better,” said Zach. “I did purchase a Brita water filter for when I am at school and regularly buy bottled water from the store.”


You may be wondering, where does the water come from? According to the Village of Alfred the water is taken from two different groundwater wells located on Shaw road, in Alfred Station. Since it is groundwater, the process requires pumps to draw the water out of wells. However, there are risks that go along with having groundwater as a main water source. These risks can include major side effects to one's well being- these include fatigue, fever, nausea, headaches and even possible death, according to a document of Minnesota Department of Health. A major disadvantage to using well water is the possibility of contaminated water, this is due to it being deep in the ground. This source of water is also very cost-effective, which explains a lot because Allegheny county is one of the most impoverished counties in New York state according to Index Mundi Statistics. Wells are being used for this exact reason that it is the cheapest way to provide water to a poor county.


By Frank DePalma



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