Social media charity dare can be dangerous

By Jillian Marshall

May 8, 2014 Updated May 8, 2014 at 10:22 PM EST

Waverly, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A social media trend is sending thousands into cold water. The Cold Water Challenge has people jumping into bodies of cold water across the country. But officials in a Tioga County village are warning to stay out of its reservoir.

The 2014 Cold Water Challenge is a 24-hour challenge where people jump into cold water, post the video on Facebook and nominate their friends to do the same. If they fail, they have to donate to a charity of the sender's choice.

Participants have jumped into pools, lakes, ponds and more, but there's one place in Waverly where officials are warning challengers to stay out of the water - the Waverly Reservoir.

The reservoir is about a half a mile long and up to 30 feet deep. On Thursday the water measured about 50 degrees.

There's a pump system in the reservoir, which used to pump some of the water to the Waverly Water Department's filter plant.

That pump system makes the reservoir more dangerous.

"There are some suctioning pipes that make it extremely dangerous, it's unsafe for anyone to be in the water and possibility of drowning," said Sgt. Mark Mitchell, of the Waverly Police Department.

Chief Plant Operator of the Waverly Water Dept. Patrick Roney said he caught a handful of people climbing out of the reservoir after doing the challenge last week.

He added it's not just the pumping system that's dangerous, it's the temperature of the water and the fact the reservoir supplies water to the village of Waverly.

"There's no fishing, no boating, no swimming of any kind. It's just a dangerous body of water, you can hike around here and use the trails, but you have to stay out of the water." Roney said.

Both the Waverly Police Department and the Waverly Water Department say they are not against the Cold Water Challenge, but just not to use the reservoir.

"It's a good cause, but you have to find some other place to do it," Roney said.