The City of Peekskill was given the authority to protect and safeguard its water supply with the signing of a new law granting peace officer status to its watershed protection officers (Chapter 347).
"One of the important tasks of government is to bring good drinking water to its citizens," stated Assemblywoman Sandy Galef. "This new law ensures that the residents in the City of Peekskill and neighboring towns can be confident that their drinking water is safe."
Senator Vincent Leibell added, "I am pleased to have sponsored this legislation in the Senate. I am certain that this will add greatly to the protection of this critical water supply."
Currently, the City of Peekskill does not have the right to monitor the Hollowbrook Watershed to ensure the safety of its drinking water, which the law would correct. Peace officer status will allow the watershed inspectors the right to carry guns, issue citations, and make arrests in enforcing provisions related to the contamination of water in those areas within the watershed.
The Peekskill Hollowbrook travels through 48 square miles from the Wiccoppee Reservoir in Putnam County through Putnam Valley, Yorktown, Cortlandt, to its final destination in the City of Peekskill. "This law will help protect over 40,000 residents of Peekskill, Cortlandt, Yorktown, and Putnam Valley whose drinking water comes from the Hollowbrook Watershed", said Andrew Fischer, Founder and President of Hollowbrook Waterwatch, an environmental organization dedicated to the protection of the Hollowbrook watershed.
"Riverkeeper congratulates the Governor and Legislature for supporting the City of Peekskill’s progressive approach to watershed protection", stated Alex Matthieson, Executive Director of The Riverkeeper, an environmental organization that is funding Hollowbrook Waterwatch to collect data and monitor the water body. "We look forward to working with Peekskill and other stakeholders to restore and protect the Hollowbrook’s water quality, wildlife habitat, stream flow, and other critical natural resources."