Flooding contaminates water; festival canceled
WATKINS GLEN--Schuyler County and Watkins Glen planned for tens of thousands of visitors last weekend for a concert at the racetrack, however, mother nature had different plans for the weekend music festival. Late Monday and early Tuesday morning, heavy downpours caused turmoil throughout Schuyler and adjacent Seneca County in low-lying areas near waterways primarily leading to Seneca Lake. A state of emergency was issued, followed by a boil water advisory in a number of areas, including Watkins Glen, Dix and Reading.
"With a 14 county state of emergency still in effect, the prospect of additional inclement weather, and a mandatory boil water order for the village of Watkins Glen issued today, Schuyler County and the New York State Department of Health are unable to issue the required permits for this weekend's Curveball Festival," the New York State Department of Health said in a joint statement. "This week's severe storm created untenable conditions, including the inability to deliver clean drinking water to patrons and vendors as confirmed by test results delivered today."
In a bulletin distributed about the boil water advisory, it said "Your water is routinely monitored for turbidity (cloudiness) to determine if it is being properly filtered. Water samples taken on August 15 - 16, 2018 (date) had turbidity levels of 1 to 13 turbidity units. This is above the allowable standard of 1.0 turbidity units. Because of the elevated turbidity, there is an increased chance that your drinking water may contain harmful microbes." It continues, "Turbidity alone has no health effects. But it can interfere with disinfection, allow harmful microbes to grow, and may indicate the presence of harmful microbes, including bacteria, viruses and parasites."
After hearing of the cancelation, the Phish performers commented on their website saying, "The four of us are writing this from directly behind the stage at Watkins Glen. We were about to walk onstage only moments ago for our traditional soundcheck jam for Curveball when we were told the heartbreaking news that due to the unsafe water conditions in the Village of Watkins Glen, our beloved festival is being canceled."
The campgrounds at the track closed the following day at noon.
Information on refunds will be forthcoming and was not yet posted at press time.