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Senator Gillibrand announces $27M to keep Fort Drum water clean

Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 4:57 PM EDT
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FORT DRUM, New York (WWNY) - U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited Fort Drum Monday to announce $27 million for five new water wells.

Gillibrand says the money will help ensure the post has a self-sufficient water supply.

This will supplement the already existing water line from the city of Watertown.

The senator says the wells are needed since the post has to buy half its water supply and only five of the 18 existing wells on post are working.

“This is one of our nation’s most important military bases and it must be independently and safely be able to meet its water needs. This is an issue of sustainability and security. It’s truly the very least we can do to ensure that the members of our military families and service members have clean water to drink,” said Gillibrand (D. - NY).

The investment is needed because older ground-water wells on post became contaminated after hundreds of thousands of gallons of jet fuel leaked over several years at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield,

It was discovered in 2006 and cost millions for environmental cleanup.

Gillibrand says the current drinking water wells on post around the airfield are not completely safe for the 35,000 soldiers and family members living on post.

“That leaves the existing water supply vulnerable to multiple water quality contamination threats from aircraft, refueling operations,” said Gillibrand.

Other possible threats of water contamination are solid waste landfills and hazardous waste sites.

But, Gillibrand said the construction of the five potable wells will be kept at a safe distance from industrial operations “to ensure that water produced for our soldiers and military families is free of all detectable industrial contaminants.”

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