Saratoga County

Village of Stillwater ponders county sewer link

The village is considering asking Saratoga County for permission to connect into the county sewer

PHOTOGRAPHER:

The village is considering asking Saratoga County for permission to connect into the county sewer system after nearly 40 years on its own, Mayor Ernest Martin said Monday.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has told the village to either connect to the county system by December 2009 or make repairs to its existing treatment plant by July 2010 to avoid fines. The state is concerned that the village’s treatment plant does not have enough capacity.

Martin said that the village and its engineers are working on plans to determine which option would be cheaper.

“We’re in the process of finding out what the cost would be on both ends,” he said.

To be considered for the county system, the village would have to formally petition the county Board of Supervisors. The board would refer the village to its sewer commission for a recommendation and then make a final decision based on that recommendation.

Martin sent a letter to the Board of Supervisors earlier this month expressing interest in connecting to the county system. Officials said that the village will need to provide information about its usage rates before the county sewer commission can consider its request.

“We’ve got to see if our system can handle it,” said sewer commission Chairman William Davis. “If we have to increase our infrastructure, they might have to pay for part of that.”

According to Davis, the village would have to build about two miles of pipes to connect to the county system.

It isn’t yet clear exactly how the village would hook into the system since plans haven’t been developed yet.

Davis also said that the village still would have to pay a higher rate than district users because it is currently considered an outside user, since it never contributed financially when the county system first was built. But Martin said he believes the village should be included in the district.

“We all pay taxes in Saratoga County,” Martin said. “We should be charged the district rate; we’re Saratoga County citizens.”

Sewer fees in the district vary because municipalities have different operation and maintenance fees. Martin said it’s too early to estimate how sewer rates in the village would change if it connected to the county system since no costs have been estimated yet.

Last year, the DEC denied a village request to add 80 hookups to its sewer system that would have been mostly used for a senior housing development. The DEC cited the capacity problem and too many problems with sewage flow and leaks in the village system.

Martin said that the village is working with the DEC to resolve the sewer issue one way or another because it needs the tax base that new development would add.

“We have to see what the figures are first,” he said. “It’s a lot of engineering work.”

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