Saratoga County

Estimated cost of Saratoga water plant work expected to double

The cost of replacing filters at the city’s water filtration plant at Excelsior and Marion avenues h

The cost of replacing filters at the city’s water filtration plant at Excelsior and Marion avenues has increased from about $825,000 to an estimated $1.6 million.

Public Works Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco said instead of just replacing two of the four filters, consulting engineers have recommended replacing all four.

Scirocco said the last time the filters were replaced was 1968. Some maintenance has been done over the past 44 years, including replacing the sand, but nothing major, he said.

The City Council will hold a public hearing at 6:55 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall on adding $840,000 to the city’s capital budget so all four filters can be replaced and electrical and control center upgrades made at the filtration plant.

Scirocco said the new filter system, when it is completed, will save the city money in the long run. A new, air-powered, back-flushing system will be much more efficient and cost effective.

“It’s more efficient, uses less water and does a better job,” Scirocco said.

The engineering firm of Barton and Loguidice, with offices in Albany and other parts of the state, was the low bidder on designing the new filter system and control upgrades, Scirocco said. Barton and Loguidice has done other design work at the filtration plant over the years. For example, the firm designed an ultraviolet purifying system installed at the water plant several years ago.

The estimate for the project is $1,665,000.

“It’s a cost we wish we didn’t have to incur,” Scirocco said. He added that the filtration system is in a “desperate need of an upgrade.”

The money for the project comes from the city’s water and sewer budget and is paid by the customers of the city water system that uses Loughberry Lake — across Route 50 from the water plant — as its primary source. The system serves between 8,000 and 9,000 customers.

City officials don’t expect the filtration plant work to start until after summer.

“We need all four filters in the summer,” Scirocco said. If the work were to start in the spring and the city had only two or three filters in operation, this would cause supply problems when the city’s population doubles during the tourism/horse racing season.

The next step after the public hearing on adding the money to the capital budget is to go out to bid for the work.

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