DEP apologizes to soggy Wawarsing

The Times Herald-Record documents that rarest of events: an apology from the New York City DEP to an upstate town.

"We forgot about Wawarsing," Paul Rush said at a meeting with homeowners and local lawmakers. "We should have been more connected. We should have done a better job."

...Rush's mea culpa came after scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey showed more preliminary data that suggests the leaking Rondout-West Branch tunnel is responsible, at least in part, for destructive water fluctuations in Wawarsing.

Wawarsing residents, who sit atop a massive leak in the Delaware Aqueduct, have struggled with flooding, contaminated wells and inundated basements for years. (Check out this dramatic 2008 PBS feature on the town.) Some are hoping for the passage of a bill that will direct the state to buy their perpetually soggy properties.

But the DEP is wary of admitting responsibility for the situation -- and though Tuesday's apology is a nice step, it stops short of a full admission of guilt. More to the point: It doesn't seem to have come with any funds attached.