Residents of both the Town and Village of New Paltz were advised early Monday to not use tap water for drinking, cooking, or making ice after residents complained over the weekend it smelled of kerosene or gas.
Water tankers and bottled water by the pallet have been trucked in over the last two days as restaurants, businesses, and the SUNY New Paltz campus have shut.
Students attending at least three of the four New Paltz schools will be unable to drink the water, Interim Superintendent Bernard Josefsberg wrote in a letter to parents. The fourth school, Lenape Elementary, uses well water instead of the affected water from the municipal system, and the letter seemed to suggest students would be able to drink it.
Officials from the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Ulster County Department of Health tested the water and air in Duzine Elementary and the middle and high schools Tuesday morning, according to the letter.
“Test results provided no concerns about re-opening our schools,” according to the letter.
Lenape Elementary was not tested because of its differing water source.
Access to all water fountains has been blocked, but lunch would be served as usual using water from Lenape Elementary, according to the letter. Eleven pallets of bottled water will be provided to students at the three other schools.
An online petition was started on Change.org demanding the schools stay shut.
The petition demands “to keep New Paltz Schools closed until DEFINITIVE results return from the STATE declaring the water is potable.”
New Paltz has sent water samples from the community to the state and to private testing companies for analysis, but results had not come back my Tuesday evening.
The DEC is also investigating a spill at one of the municipal reservoirs that provides the town and village with water.
Results from the investigation are expected sometime tomorrow, according to the village.
The petition was started after 3 p.m. and had nearly 700 signatures as of 6:15 p.m.