Montgomery County

Amsterdam to bond for $5M sewer system upgrade

The Amsterdam Common Council is laying the groundwork for a $5 million overhaul of its dated sewer i

The Amsterdam Common Council is laying the groundwork for a $5 million overhaul of its dated sewer infrastructure to bring the system up to state standards by 2017.

The council is expected to affirm Tuesday a bonding resolution for the $5 million that it approved unanimously at a special meeting on Feb. 23.

“We need to take care of that to comply with a [Department of Environmental Conservation] consent order,” Mayor Mike Villa said on Monday. “These are repairs that are needed for wastewater infrastructure. This isn’t something that we can put off.”

Tuesday’s resolution adds a mandatory environmental impact review to the bond resolution passed last week.

The project will replace or upgrade aging pipes and improve the three major pump stations in the city’s wastewater treatment system to cut down on the amount of overflow running into the Mohawk River, especially during heavy rain, according to Doug Cole of John M. McDonald Engineering, which is consulting on the project.

The city was approved for a 30-year, no-interest loan of $5 million through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund in December, Cole said. The bond resolution is necessary to begin expending the funds.

Villa said the city is also pursuing a grant for up to 25 percent of the project cost through the state’s Environmental Facilities Corporation.

“We’ve gone through our steps and met all the protocol for not only the funding but for the grant,” he said. “Now it’s just a question of waiting to hear.”

The city has been under a DEC order to improve the wastewater infrastructure since a massive discharge of roughly 24 million gallons of untreated sewage over an eight-day stretch in 2013 caused by the failure of two pumps. Due to a reporting error, the spill was not uncovered until last spring.

At the time, the city agreed to pay $13,750 in fines and upgrade its sewer system by 2017.

Cole said while that problem was fixed within a few days of the pump failures, the upgrades aim to prevent things like that from happening in the future.

“A lot of the equipment at the pump stations is original, so it’s 43 years old, and it needs to be replaced to stay in good working order,” he said.

He expects work to begin sometime in 2017. He said the work should not interfere with the average user of the system.

“Ideally you won’t notice anything,” he said. “It’s just going to continue to work better.”

Reach Gazette reporter Kyle Adams at 723-0811, [email protected] or @kyleradams on Twitter.

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