Saratoga County

Luther Forest work causing problems for Mechanicville’s reservoir

The development going on in and around Luther Forest appears to be having an impact on the Mechanicv

The development going on in and around Luther Forest appears to be having an impact on the Mechanicville city reservoir in Stillwater.

There’s more silt turning up in the drinking water reservoir off Elmore Robinson Road, and that means more material being filtered out at the city water treatment plant.

The filtered-out silt — called sludge — will be disposed of at a former surface-mining site in Schaghticoke under a proposal now under review by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Warren Fane Inc. of Troy, a mining and topsoil company, would charge the city to take the sludge, but it would be less expensive than other alternatives, said city Public Works Commissioner David Higgins.

“I don’t want to get into figures now, but it will be a lot less,” Higgins said.

One commercial disposal proposal had been to truck the sludge to a landfill in Seneca Falls, he said. “It would have cost thousands and thousands of dollars.”

Higgins estimated there are now about 600 tons of sludge stored in two lagoons at the water treatment plant, which serves the city as well as some customers in Stillwater, Halfmoon, and the Hemstreet Park section of Schaghticoke.

“With all the development going on in Stillwater, with Luther Forest and GlobalFoundries, we’re getting a lot more silt,” Higgins said. “The lagoons are supposed to last a year, but we’re not getting a year out of them.”

The reservoir’s watershed is in Luther Forest, most of which was undisturbed until road construction for the Luther Forest Technology Campus began in 2008.

The 1,414-acre campus in Malta and Stillwater is approved for high-tech business development in the future.

Under the proposal being reviewed by DEC officials, the sludge material will be hauled to the Hemstreet Park pit of Warren W. Fane Inc., which has a sand and gravel mine on Allen Road in Schaghticoke.

Company owner Warren Fane didn’t return a call seeking comment.

The city already has a beneficial use determination from DEC, which means the sludge doesn’t have to be disposed of as solid waste under certain circumstances, including production of topsoil.

Public comments are being accepted through April 9 by contacting Nancy M. Baker at DEC Region 4 headquarters, 1130 North Wescott Road, Schenectady N.Y. 12306.

Application materials are also available for review there.

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