Tempers are boiling over in an Upstate city after water was deemed undrinkable due to an unmanned treatment facility. The New York water quality safety law was triggered after the city’s water treatment facility went unmanned more than 24 hours.

This has left city residents and businesses, especially restaurants, in a tight spot as what they see as a totally preventable boil water advisory is in effect. This is just the latest in the war between the city’s City Council and Water Board.

…And Not a Drop to Drink

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The City of Johnstown has been waterless since Thursday, when the state issued their advisory based on the law. According to News10, City officials are unsure how or why the treatment facility could remain unstaffed in a town of their size. Staff shortages are not in short supply across New York or the rest of the country, as local businesses and government try to balance post-lockdown life with rapidly rising inflation.

The Long Simmer

Water Board and the City Council have been at war for a long time now, including an attempt to abolish the board in 2020. That was the year a Grand Jury ruled the Water Board and its employees operated with a “complete lack of professionalism.” Emergency powers given to Mayor Amy Praught that gave her control of the Water Department were rescinded in June.

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The City Council is hoping to have the facility staffed again so the advisory can be lifted Saturday. To remove the boil advisory, two different water tests must be taken to prove the municipal water is safe to drink.

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