Saratoga County

Foul well water prompts calls for line extension in Ballston Lake

About 30 properties along Route 146A on the Clifton Park side of the town line south almost to Ashdo

When members of the Ballston Lake Emergency Squad wash down their ambulances after a call, the water’s sulfur smell is so noxious that opening the bay doors to air the place out is a must.

The well water is safe to drink at the building on Route 146A on the Clifton Park side of the hamlet of Ballston Lake, but no one wants to partake. The organization buys water for drinking instead.

The squad’s showers, available to crew members who stay overnight and for anyone who gets dirty or covered with bodily fluids during a call, go largely unused, said Bill Pomeroy, president and chief officer.

“Nobody wants to take a shower in the water, because you smell afterwards,” Pomeroy said. “The wells in here are horrible in terms of the quality of the water.”

About 30 properties along Route 146A on the Clifton Park side of the town line south almost to Ashdown Road face the same daily inconvenience of smelly water, and the owners have agreed they’d like to hook up to public water.

“We would love to have municipal water here,” Pomeroy said.

Right now, Ballston’s public water mains stop at the town line on Route 146A, just south of Westside Drive.

The Clifton Park properties include several homes and the Ballston Lake Fire Department as well as the ambulance squad.

Clifton Park officials have agreed to pursue the issue, which would require extending water lines south on Route 146A from the town of Ballston.

Representatives from the two towns plan to discuss on Tuesday forming an agreement to service the Clifton Park properties. The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Ballston Town Hall during that town’s regular Town Board meeting.

The water line extension would require a purchase agreement between the two towns, which would iron out pricing to buy the water from Ballston. It would also require the state comptroller’s approval, said Clifton Park town attorney Tom McCarthy.

The approval is likely to take several months, and several resolutions will need to be passed before it’s a done deal.

Ballston officials also have to come up with agreeable user rates. Clifton Park officials have proposed the customers pay the inside user rate that a Ballston customer would pay, because Clifton Park will maintain the water lines.

Some Ballston Town Board members had questions about giving Clifton Park users the water at that low rate, so Clifton Park Supervisor Phil Barrett will address the neighboring board at the Tuesday meeting.

“They were unsure about the rate to be charged,” said Ballston Town Supervisor Patti Southworth.

Preliminary estimates indicate each owner would pay about $338 a year for water usage and about $930 a year to pay the Clifton Park Water Authority to install the water lines, McCarthy said. The water authority would borrow money to pay the estimated $574,000 cost up front and then customers in that special district would pay back the principal and interest each year.

The project would not affect the price for Clifton Park’s current water customers.

If it is approved, property owners within the district could choose whether they want to hook up to public water, but would have to pay the debt service amount no matter what, McCarthy said. Barrett said the area is ideal for a special water district because it is fairly densely populated, almost all the property owners want public water and the Ballston water lines are very close.

“The best situation for these districts is a very high density of customers and then having to run the infrastructure for the shortest distance possible,” he said.

The closest public water on the Clifton Park side is quite a ways away, he said.

Clifton Park currently has two water agreements with neighboring Glenville, one to deliver water to 18 homes in Rexford and the other to provide a backup water supply to the town, McCarthy said.

Most town properties are served by the town water authority, either getting their supply from the county water line or town wells along the Mohawk River. There are just a few special water districts in housing developments and other residents are on private wells.

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