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Yates County urges village alerts

Yates County Legislators have asked Penn Yan Village officials to communicate with the county when an incident at the Penn Yan Municipal sewage treatment plant might impact neighbors downstream from the plant.

Penn Yan Mayor Leigh MacKerchar and Director of Public Works Brent Bodine attended the county’s Human Services Committee meeting Sept. 5 to address concerns from legislators.

As required by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, on Aug. 24, village officials reported a spill of treated sludge from the sewage treatment plant into the Keuka Outlet. Although State Department of Health officials were also notified, the Yates County Public Health Department was not. County Public Health Director Deb Minor says staff there fielded calls for information from concerned citizens after word began to spread through the community about the spill. They were unable to help the public because they were not informed of the spill themselves. She notes the Yates County Public Health Department does not address environmental issues.

Penn Yan Village officials provided signs to post along the Keuka Outlet warning the public to stay out of the water. But no other notification was made to downstream neighbors, except to the Friends of the Outlet, who were planning a major clean-up event for Aug. 25.

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