Signs urge polite use of spring
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
By Lee Coleman (Contact)
Photographer: Bruce Squiers
Signs placed along corners of the State Seal water pavilion in Saratoga Spa State Park remind users to share the available spigots.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS — The State Seal water flowing day and night at an outdoor pavilion in the Saratoga Spa State Park has become so popular that park officials have been forced to post a new, informal guideline at the spring.
“Share Spigots, Don’t Be a Water Hog,” say the signs posted inside the Joseph L. Bruno Pavilion on the Avenue of the Pines.
“This morning I stood here one hour,” said John Salmon of Glens Falls, who had come Tuesday to get some of the water.
He said a man was filling up large, 20-gallon containers with the free spring water and wouldn’t share one of the spigots with Salmon.
Salmon said the man told him: “I got here first.”
So Salmon left and came back Tuesday afternoon to fill his two small jugs.
Mike Greenslade, manager of the state park, said that in recent months his office has received complaints from spring-water lovers who say some people don’t share the six spigots at the Bruno pavilion.
“We are asking people not to be a spigot hog,” Greenslade said. He said the little signs with a pig on them are meant to be “humorous.”
“We want to keep it lighthearted,” Greenslade said. He said that so far, there have been no physical altercations spilling over at the spring.
Roberta Abramo of Stillwater said Tuesday that she comes to the State Seal spring every two months and fills up dozens of gallon water bottles for herself and her daughter.
“Sometimes there are a lot of people here,” Abramo said. She said when many people want to use the spigots, as was the case Tuesday afternoon, she makes sure to use only one of the spigots.
Mike Hitchcock of Galway said he comes to fill up his two big blue water containers once a week. “The water has a nice taste to it,” he said.
Hitchcock said he has never had a problem with people hogging the spigots. “If it’s busy, you come back later. This is Saratoga; it’s very peaceful,” he said.
People filling up containers at the spring Tuesday said they like to use the State Seal water for drinking as well as for brewing tea and coffee.
“It’s clear, good water,” said Salmon. He said he has been coming to Saratoga Springs for 50 years to take home jugs of the water.
Unlike many mineral springs in the Saratoga Spa State Park and in Saratoga Springs, the State Seal water is not carbonated and does not have a sulfur taste to it. There is one spigot of real mineral water running in the Bruno pavilion, but people seldom use it.
Greenslade said the Bruno pavilion is probably the most popular place in the park on a daily basis.
He said his staff has done occasional car counts and they estimated that between 300 and 400 cars per day stop at the spring year-round.
He said there is another State Seal spring running in the park’s Geyser picnic area, but it's hard to access during the winter months.
Alli Schweizer, the park’s naturalist, said that the reason the water is so clean and uncarbonated is because it runs through sand and not limestone, through which many of the other mineral springs flow.
“The limestone gives the other springs carbonation,” Schweizer said.
State Seal is “recommended by physicians where mineral-free water is indicated,” says a statement from the park on its mineral waters. The statements says the water is “fresh, non-carbonated” and ideal for general use.
Greenslade said the park has had State Seal water tested recently and the tests indicated that it is “very good water” with no significant levels of any harmful substance or bacteria in it.
Despite the water hog signs, there is no shortage of State Seal water, Greenslade said.