Saratoga County

Ballston seeks slash in county water deal

The town of Ballston is looking to drastically reduce its commitment to buy water from the new Sa


The town of Ballston is looking to drastically reduce its commitment to buy water from the new Saratoga County Water Authority system next year because it couldn’t get out of its supply contract with the town of Glenville.

With the county water system now nearing completion, the town is asking that the commitment it made in 2007 be reduced from 375,000 gallons a day to 150,000 gallons.

“We’re still committed to taking water from the county water system, but we won’t be ready by Jan 1, and it won’t be for the original commitment,” said Mary Beth Hynes, a Ballston town councilwoman and the town’s representative on the Water Authority.

The Ballston commitment to 375,000 daily gallons was critical when the county water system was getting launched. Along with Wilton, it is one of just two municipal customers who made an advance commitment. However, even then it was known that the town had a separate commitment with Glenville, and the two water contracts was an issue in the 2007 town election.

Hynes said Ballston has been unable to get out of its contract for at least 100,000 gallons a day from Glenville, and its total recent water use has been about 287,000 gallons a day.

“As of right now, we are overcommitted in terms of gallonage,” Hynes said.

Ballston also has yet to start building the infrastructure to connect the town water system to the county system, and may not do so until the spring, Hynes said. The connection will be at East Line Road.

lost money

Water Authority Chairman John E. Lawler, R-Waterford, initially expressed some sympathy with the request, even though it could cost the authority nearly $170,000 annually in lost revenue.

“I don’t think we want to be in a position to force the town to buy water,” Lawler said.

The authority, meeting Thursday in Ballston Spa, then went into closed-door session with its attorney; Lawler was unavailable afterward.

The town request comes as the $67 million project to bring Hudson River water from Moreau to central Saratoga County is nearing completion after two years of construction.

The county authority has a potential customer that might make up the difference if Ballston buys less. The authority is “close” to an agreement with the Clifton Park Water Authority to sell it 500,000 gallons a day, which could make up for any loss in sales to Ballston.

The Luther Forest Technology Campus in Malta and Stillwater is expected to be the biggest single customer at 2.4 million gallons a day, but won’t need most of that water until the GlobalFoundries computer chip factory starts to ramp up, which is still about two years away.

Because of that lag in starting to collect revenue from its biggest customer, the plan since 2007 has been that Saratoga County would provide an initial operating subsidy of up to $4.8 million from county funds. The authority already plans to dip into that money next year.

At Thursday’s authority meeting, consultants also reported that the water treatment plant in Moreau and the 28-mile pipe system should be finished by Sept. 30, though formal completion won’t be until Dec. 1, given time needed for testing the system.

“There really needs to be a substantial period of testing,” said Dan Loewenstein, a vice-president at Malcolm Pirnie, the project engineers. “You turn it on and nothing ever works exactly right.”

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