Saratoga County

Tank deal called ‘step forward’

The Luther Forest Technology Campus developer has agreed to pay for a 5-million-gallon water stor

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The Luther Forest Technology Campus developer has agreed to pay for a 5-million-gallon water storage tank at its site for the county Water Authority.

The agreement announced Monday will have the technology campus pay an estimated $4.5 million for the tank, to be located in Stillwater. Though the technology campus will provide the money, the Water Authority will construct and then own it.

“This has been hanging out there. To have this issue resolved is another big step forward,” said Water Authority Chairman John E. Lawler, R-Waterford.

The large storage tank has always been included in the overall design of the new county water system, which will run from the Hudson River in Moreau to Luther Forest.

However, the tank wasn’t included in the construction contracts the county bid in 2006, for work that is now under way. The need for it was known, but who would build it and how it would be paid for weren’t.

The agreement with the Luther Forest Technology Campus Economic Development Corp. means the storage tank can be built without any impact on the water authority’s $67 million construction budget, or the estimated $2.05 per 1,000 gallons that users will initially pay.

Having the storage tank is essential to attracting the Advanced Micro Devices computer chip plant to the Luther Forest site, said Mike Relyea, executive director of the technology campus.

“The water tower is part of what we need as part of our discussions with AMD,” he said. “If there were an interruption, they need a certain amount of water to shut down their process.”

Computer chip making uses millions of gallons of water every day, and Luther Forest is expected to be the biggest customer of the county water system.

AMD has yet to make a final commitment to build its $3.2 billion plant, and but is currently actively going through the zoning approval process in the town of Malta.

William Simcoe, executive director of the water authority, said the storage tank would be about 100 feet tall, located on a wooded part of the technology campus in the town of Stillwater.

Relyea said funding for the water tank is in place, and will come from $45 million for Luther Forest infrastructure included in the current state budget.

The tank will be built under a separate low-bid contract to be solicited by the authority once the funding arrangement is finalized, Lawler said.

“It makes sense for it to be done as part of our project,” Lawler said.

Also at an authority meeting Monday in Ballston Spa, an engineer said the 28-mile pipeline system is about half finished, while work on the water treatment plant in Moreau is roughly 30 days behind schedule.

“I think your treatment plant will be late, maybe 30 days late,” said Dan Loewenstein, a vice president with project engineers Malcolm Pirnie of Latham.

That would push back completion of the treatment plant from September to October 2009.

Lawler said that delay isn’t significant, since the authority doesn’t have any set deadlines to begin providing water.

In addition to the technology campus, signed customers for the system are the towns of Wilton and Ballston.

The driving deadline would appear to be AMD’s, but it won’t need large amounts of water until well after plant construction starts, and construction won’t start before early next year. AMD doesn’t have to make a final decision on whether to build the plant until July 2009.

Lawler also reported progress on the authority’s plans to borrow $37 million on Wall Street. A required public hearing will be held at 3:30 p.m. July 21 at the county offices.

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