Lyme residents worry about water safety; lab owner offers advice

Published: Aug. 1, 2023 at 5:18 PM EDT
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TOWN OF LYME, New York (WWNY) - People living near the town of Lyme solar farm fire want to test their water. They’re worried water used to put out the fire could seep into the water they drink.

Dave Converse with Converse Laboratories in Watertown has gotten about a dozen calls from town of Lyme residents asking to get their well water tested. His message: don’t panic.

“If your wells are drilled properly, they’re sealed into rock, most of the surface water is going to run away. It’s not going to run into your well. That being said if you have dug wells or a breach, there is a possibility to get that surface water,” he said.

Converse says some of the metals involved could include copper, cobalt, manganese, aluminum and zinc.

“I’ve also recommended they do an actual coliform test because with the water running across the ground, it’s going to pick up coliform. If you get surface water in your well, that’s the very first indicator that you’re getting some surface water in there, is the coliform,” he said.

Neighbor Susan Nichols says her first priority is making sure her water is safe, but she’s also thinking about the long-term consequences, including what will happen to her property value.

“No one’s going to want this place. We pay $5,000 a year in taxes, and we’ve been doing that for 30-plus odd years. We were hoping, with market value, to get some return on it. But that’s not going to happen,” she said.

As part of an environmental review, the state Department of Environmental Conservation will test the water and air quality.