Boil water order continues in Jay, Upper Jay

A water tanker at the Upper Jay firehouse is providing free drinking water to families affected by the boil water order in the hamlets of Jay and Upper Jay. People need to bring their own containers. (Enterprise photo — Andy Flynn)

UPPER JAY — More relief came to residents in the Jay and Upper Jay water districts Tuesday afternoon when a tanker full of potable water arrived at the Upper Jay Volunteer Fire Department on Valley Road. Those who get their well water from the districts have been under a boil water order for more than a week, since Monday, April 26.

Kristen Sayers, district director for the state Department of Health, issued the boil water order the same day Well 3 in the Upper Jay Water District failed.

“What happened was the seal at the bottom of the well let loose, they believe, and it was allowing it to suck in dirty water,” town of Jay Supervisor Archie Depo said Tuesday.

It was that volume of “highly turbid water,” the DOH said, that forced the town to use the smaller Well 2 in the Jay Water District to serve residents in Jay and Upper Jay.

“We’ve got that one running, but the trouble is that the pipes are filled with the sand or mud, or whatever you call it, from pumping from the big well (Well 3),” Depo said. “So that’s why the boil water (order) is on.”

Bottled water can be picked up by residents affected by the boil water order in Jay and Upper Jay at the town highway garage in Upper Jay, across the street from the firehouse. (Enterprise photo — Andy Flynn)

Well 2 was being disinfected with sodium hypochlorite, according to the boil order.

“Turbidity in the water can reduce the efficiency of the chlorine disinfection process,” the order states. “Excessive turbidity levels may pose a public health hazard.”

The well water can still be used to take showers and baths and wash clothes without boiling.

The town serves about 220 households in Jay and about 120 households in Upper Jay with those wells, according to Depo.

Residents in the hamlets should boil drinking water in a clean container for one minute and let it cool before using. Boiled water, bottled water or water from the tanker at the Upper Jay firehouse should be used for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth and preparing food until further notice.

The tanker from the state Emergency Management Office in Albany arrived Tuesday in AuSable Forks, where it was filled with town water and delivered to Upper Jay. There are spigots in the back of the tanker, which residents can use to fill their own containers.

The town is also providing free bottled water to residents at the highway garage, across the road from the Upper Jay firehouse.

For more information about bottled water, call the Highway Department between 6 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday at 518-647-2204, ext. 125. On Friday, call the Jay Community Center between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at 518-647-2204, ext. 101. On weekends, call the supervisor at 518-534-8152 to arrange a time for pickup.

Depo and Department of Public Works Director Chris Garrow met with a hydrologist and well drillers, and they said extensive site work is needed at Well 3. The old casing has to be removed, and a new seal installed on the bottom.

“Right now it’s too soft to get a well-drilling rig in there,” Depo said, adding that there was so much water from Well 3 that the ground got hollowed out. “We dug it out, and we filled it with crushed stone. It’s going to take a few days for it to stiffen up enough to get a rig in there.”

Well workers are expected to arrive early next week. When Well 3 is up and running, it will take about three days to build up water pressure, flush the lines and get a clear water sample approved by the health department before the boil water order can be lifted. Depo said that could happen by the middle or end of next week.


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