Twenty three towns rest at the bottom of the unfiltered water of NYC.
Finally, at noon of June 19, 1914, the blowing of all the steam whistles in the reservoir
area for one solid hour announced the completion of the dikes and dams of the reservoir.
The farms and villages were left to the rush of the oncoming waters, under which, to this
day, the foundations of old houses and sites of well-remembered orchards and gardens
are visible at low water.
Over thirty-two cemeteries of two thousand eight hundred bodies or skeletons,
including those of many soldiers of the Revolution were moved, well most of them.
What did folks die of back then, when bodies were buried in pine boxes with just dirt
tossed on them and over time rotting into the soil now silt?
Maybe diseases like tuberculosis, Smallpox , Influenza, Typhus to name a few.
From 1914 to the 1950s 23 towns were left at the bottom of the reservoirs.
The Towns, our sunken past:
West Hurley, Ashton, Glenford, Brown's Station, Olive Bridge, Brodhead, Shokan,
West Shokan, Boiceville, Beerston, Cannonsville, Rock Rift, Rock Royal, Granton,
Neversink, Bittersweet, Arena, Pepacton, Shavertown, Union Grove, Eureka, Montela,
Lackawack and Gilboa.
The Six reservoirs:
Ashokan Reservoir,Cannonsville Reservoir,Neversink Reservoir,Pepacton Reservoir,
Rondout Reservoir,Schoharie Reservoir.
(Did I just read farms,houses,businesses like tanneries all left at the bottom?)
Asbestos became increasingly popular among manufacturers and builders in the 19th
century because of its sound absorption, tensile strength, and its resistance to heat,
Heavily-leaded paint was used in most homes built before the 1950s,
The official birthday of EPA is December 2, 1970. If the EPA was around during the
siting of the reservoirs would they still have been built?
When asked where does your water come from? Most folks respond "from the faucet."
After reading this you can take it one step further. You can state the facts to your child.
You can say, "Well Billy, our water here in NYC comes from upstate reservoirs."
"You see Billy, the reservoirs that supply NYC with water are no more then giant open air
surface water gathering pits. With history below and wildlife above, and an incredible
aquatic world in-between. Its all natural taste with history at the bottom of every glass,
and the best thing its free! Thats why we don't complain about it. Now drink up,
you will be late for school and do not forget your inhaler."
NYC needs a filter system.
In the mean time maybe some environmental groups could start a bottled water campaign
to help out. You might want to ask for glass bottles they are more earth friendly.
Remember plastic is a petroleum product.
You can find more history on NYC drinking water and our past here.
(My note: NYC residents tend to forget that there are an awful lot of dead animal bodies
that also decompose in the reservoir. In addition, septic leakage and direct septic waste,
runoff from fertilizers and many other chemicals used between here and there, bodies of
the dead who were disposed of or who drowned undetected or just plain old died of
disease and plopped into the water. And don't forget each and every upstate resident
who goes out of their way to pee in it just on principle.
Not to mention garbage and toxic waste illegally dumped, sort of the same way NY City
uses the ocean for all their toxic junk.)