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Comments on the East Fishkill Master Plan
for Public Hearing July 25, 2002 - by Peter Rostenberg

To my East Fishkill friends,

Your July 25, 2002 meeting at John Jay HS will include a discussion of slopes (Section5.1). This section is important as it impacts on risk of ground and surface water contamination from septic systems.

The proposal to reduce development by 50% on lots with slopes over 20 percent is a slight of hand statement which gives the impression (incorrectly) that this will reduce the public health risk that such septic installations might cause. DO NOT ACCEPT this proposal.

Strict, universally enforced septic regulations will go a long way toward protecting your surface and subsurface water quality. And you cannot protect groundwater without strict regulations and enforcement

Here are the suggestions I would make for your Master Plan regarding slope.

1. Leaching systems should not be permitted on slopes greater than 20 percent.

2. Soils with slopes exceeding 10 percent should be considered AN AREA OF SPECIAL CONCERN. As such the system should be designed by a professional engineer licensed by the State of New York.

3. Leaching systems located on slopes greater than 10 percent must located on a minimum of 66 inches of original soil.

Remember, if you have the WILL, you can prevail. Ask for a delay to consider more comprehensive regulations. And you need to follow through on your plan to hold a community meeting to more fully explain this approach to you and your neighbors.

A partial list of topics at your community should include.

1. Areas of special concern
2. Minimum separating distances (between septics and water)
3. Supervision of soil testing, new installations and repairs
4. Septic management and sewer avoidance.

Feel free to copy and distribute

Peter Rostenberg, MD
Fishkill Creek Watershed Coalition & Fishkill Ridge Caretakers

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