Saratoga County

Sewer district seeks fed cash

The county sewer district has submitted two capital improvement projects totalling $22.5 million


The county sewer district has submitted two capital improvement projects totalling $22.5 million to state officials, hoping they may qualify for federal stimulus funding.

The requests include $16 million to reline an aging trunk sewer, and $6.5 million to upgrade sewers around Saratoga Lake. They were recently submitted to the state Environmental Facilities Corp., which finances environmental improvement projects.

“You have to be on the EFC list to qualify for stimulus funding,” said James DiPasquale, the sewer district’s executive director.

The submissions are a follow-up to recent statements by county sewer commission Chairman William Davis that he believes the district should receive money under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the federal stimulus bill.

The district is currently working on a $52 million expansion of its wastewater treatment plant in Halfmoon, and faces an estimated additional $40 million in various upgrades to the sewer system, now more than 30 years old. To date, it hasn’t gotten federal grants for any of the work, despite requests.

“Our good staff has not given up,” Davis said at the monthly commissioners’ meeting Wednesday at the plant.

The $16 million being requested for relining the main sewer trunk line between Saratoga Springs and the treatment plant would be enough to address the areas where the line is most corroded from years of use, DiPasquale said.

The $6.5 million is a rough estimate of the cost of improvements needed around Saratoga Lake, where the district’s lines have been at nearly full capacity for almost a decade.

The district has conducted several studies and is working on another, but the basic issue is that the parts of Saratoga Springs, Malta, Saratoga and Stillwater around the lake have experienced significant residential growth since the sewers were installed 25 years ago. The district is now limiting new connections.

The lake’s problems arose again at Wednesday’s meeting, because developer Renee Farley is asking for permission to connect four new lots in the Riley Cove area of Malta. In return, she and two other neighbors are offering to fix 22 residential sewage grinder pumps in the neighborhood that now flood when the lake is high. The district has had problems with sewage overflows when those pumps flood.

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