Don't drink 'Whiskey' water

The popular spring water available at Whiskey Hollow Road in Van Buren could be harmful to your health.

Marty Ochsener, a resident of Lamson Road in Lysander, recently had the spring water tested. He, along with other Lamson Road residents, is actively involved in the pursuit of public water for Lamson and Oswego roads and had the water from the Whiskey Hollow spring tested as that's where several residents currently get their water from. Ochsener brought a sample of the water to Life Science Laboratories. The test was conducted on Oct. 30 and came back with a positive reading for chloroform.

Drinking water that contains elevated levels of chloroform over a long period can damage the liver and kidneys. According to a public health statement by the Environmental Protection Agency, if you are exposed to chloroform, many factors determine whether you'll be harmed. These factors include the dose (how much), the duration (how long), and how you come in contact with it.

There are many ways for chloroform to enter the environment, so small amounts of it are likely to be found almost everywhere. Most of the chloroform found in the environment enters from chemical companies and paper mills. Additionally, to destroy bacteria, chlorine is added to most drinking water supplies and small amounts of chloroform are formed as an unwanted product during this process. The amount of chloroform normally expected to be in treated drinking water ranges from 2 to 44 ppb. The estimated amount of chloroform you probably are exposed to in drinking water ranges from 4 to 88 micrograms per day.

Chloroform can also lead to E. coli contamination in the water. E. coli is a common type of bacteria that can get into water and food and can cause severe illness. The town of Van Buren has asked residents to avoid drinking water from the Whiskey Hollow Road spring, especially those with poor immune systems.

"It may taste good, but it can make you sick," said Van Buren Supervisor Claude Sykes.

According to Sykes, the Whiskey Hollow Road water spring has been used for decades and has also been previously tested with the same findings. Sykes has asked the Onondaga County Health Department to erect a sign warning people who collect the water for drinking purposes.

For more information, call the Onondaga County Health Department at 435-3252.

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