A second water tanker is scheduled to arrive in New Paltz after officials told residents not to drink their tap water earlier Monday.
Residents of both the Town and Village of New Paltz were advised not use tap water for drinking, cooking, or making ice after residents complained over the weekend it smelled of gas.
The second tanker, which joins a 6,000-gallon tractor-trailer parked at New Paltz Village Hall, will be located on the SUNY New Paltz campus in the village, according to SUNY New Paltz Assistant Director of Communications Andrew Bruso.
More than 7.700 students are enrolled at the university, according to the school, but a large portion live off-campus or commute.
The university sent word to students via an official campus email when they learned of the advisory early Monday, Bruso said.
“We’ve sent out multiple messages today,” he said. “Again, information has been sparse, because the village is in the process of figuring out what is going on.”
There are now water bottles for pick up at village hall, 5 bottles are available per person. Water will be available till 9pm.
New Paltz Village Mayor Tim Rogers said late Monday afternoon officials were in the process of setting up bottled water distribution points on the SUNY New Paltz campus.
Bottled water is also available at Village Hall, according to a municipal advisory. Five water bottles are available per person, and residents should come by before 9 p.m.
Residents started complaining of a “kerosene, oil or gas smell” in their tap water over the weekend, Rogers said earlier Monday, and the odor didn’t seem to be concentrated in a particular neighborhood.
“It seems like the number of reports are increasing, and that’s why we went ahead and said, ‘let’s just tell people to stop using the water,’ this morning,” Rogers said.
The Ulster County Department of Health was expediting lab tests of the water to find the source of the odor, and New Paltz officials have been in communication with the Governor’s Office, the state Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the state Department of Environmental Conversation (DEC), Rogers added.
A state DHS vehicle was seen at Village Hall late Monday afternoon.
There was no wait to get water at the Village Hall tanker Monday afternoon, and the small number of residents who stopped by mostly said they heard about the advisory by word-of-mouth.
David Caccamo, who was filling up a container just after 4 p.m., said he heard about the advisory within the last half hour from another resident while out in the village.
Caccamo said he did not have a smart phone and questioned how residents without constant access to social media would find out about the advisory.
Matt Gallucci, who was passing through the Village Parking lot, said he first heard of the issue when his neighbor told him about her water smelling off.
He thought the problem might be limited to her abode and didn’t think much of it until he started seeing people complain on social media about the smell Sunday afternoon.
Rogers said officials were looking into several theories, including the recent cleaning of the Catskill Aqueduct, which supplies New Paltz with the majority of its water.
The aqueduct – which also supplies water to Newburgh, New Windsor, High Falls and to 40 percent of New York City – was shut down in November for repairs.
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which runs the aqueduct, cleared the aqueduct so workers could replace valves and cracked grout and scrape organic build-up from the giant tube’s interior, according to the Shawangunk Journal.
New Paltz started again receiving water from the aqueduct Jan. 27, Rogers said, almost two weeks before the odor was detected.
“It does take a long time for water to circulate through our entire conveyance system,” Rogers added, suggesting water originating in the reservoir would take time to travel through the aqueduct to local resident’s taps.
The DEP told Rogers yesterday they were unaware of any issues in the aqueduct, he said, but the investigation continues.
Surrounding municipalities have had no complaints about their water, Rogers added.