Clean water on the way to people in Lawtons, thanks to Seneca Nation

LAWTONS, N.Y. (WIVB) – People who live in the small Hamlet of Lawtons will soon have clean drinking water for the first time in several years. The Seneca Nation signed an agreement Monday with the Town of North Collins to supply the water.

A “do not drink order” has been in place in Lawtons for several years. Now that’s about to change, thanks to the partnership. A natural resources defense council report recently cited Lawtons as one of three areas in Erie County with health threats in tap water. Officials say there’s high nitrate levels in the water, which is a health concern.

John Tobia, North Collins town supervisor, said the best option to fix it was to ask the Seneca Nation to tap into their pipe. He said it didn’t take long for the Nation to agree.

“The people in Lawtons can’t drink their water and the counsel and the Nation realized that, and they’re here to help us,” Tobia said.

“If you’ve ever been unable to get free, clean, fresh water, you’d understand the circumstances that our neighbors are going through and we wanted to help,” Todd Gates, president of Seneca Nation, said

Tobia said they will likely have to update systems in almost 40 homes. He estimates the total cost of the project to be around $650,000. He expects state grant money to help pay for it.

Tobia expects people to be able to start using the water in Lawtons by 2018.

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