Saratoga County

Official: Town unlikely to fight Saratoga County sewer plant

A large county-run sewage treatment plant sitting amid Northumberland’s farm fields may sound incong

A large county-run sewage treatment plant sitting amid Northumberland’s farm fields may sound incongruous, but the town doesn’t plan to fight the county proposal.

Northumberland waged a long and costly — and losing — battle in the 1990s to keep the county landfill from being built there, but Town Supervisor Bill Peck said he doesn’t see that being repeated with the proposed sewer plant.

“I’m not a big proponent of governments fighting governments,” the Republican said Thursday. “In the end, I think the taxpayers are the losers.”

Peck also said town leaders have no interest in using access to new sewer service to promote residential subdivisions where the town’s farm fields are now.

“We are not interested in changing our landscape,” he said.

County sewer commissioners on Wednesday announced that they would like to build a new sewage treatment plant to serve the northern part of the county at the county landfill site on Kobor Road overlooking the Hudson River.

Sewer district consultants Delaware Engineering of Albany, hired to look for a northern plant site, examined possible treatment plant sites in Schuylerville, Victory and Northumberland before settling on the landfill site.

Several properties closer to the river in the Schuylerville area were dropped from consideration because of concerns about disturbing pre-colonial archaeological resources,

While the concept is still in its infancy, the plan is to spend roughly $60 million on a treatment plant and installing 13 miles of pipes to bring sewage generated in the Saratoga Springs area to Northumberland.

The current county sewage treatment in Halfmoon has no room for further expansion, and because of the county’s growth is expected to reach capacity in about five years. Saratoga’s waste now goes there, and would be diverted to the new plant.

“The sewer commission had made a good case that there needs to be a northern plant,” Peck acknowledged.

The treated wastewater would be discharged into the Hudson.

Peck said he’s known of the possibility for a couple of months, and last month toured the Halfmoon treatment plant.

The Halfmoon plant, built in the 1970s, has occasionally generated odor complaints from residents of Halfmoon and Mechanicville, though those have lessened in recent years. Peck said he’s been told newer plants have different designs that minimize odor issues.

While the new sewer pipes would run past miles of open or little-developed land, Peck said the town doesn’t want more development, except perhaps along Route 50. The hamlet of Gansevoort has a small sewage collection system that would probably be tied into the larger county system.

Peck said there’s probably more concern in town about the county’s plan to sell its unused landfill, though there appears to be little the town can do at this point.

“Now there’s a permitted landfill in our town,” he said. “The fight was 15 years ago and it was worth the fight, but it’s permitted now.”

The landfill was built by the county in 1998-2000, but has never opened.

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