ROTTERDAM — Rotterdam is considering spending more than $5 million to repair and upgrade parts of the town’s water system.
The system for the town of 28,000 is more than four decades old and has suffered a number of breaks due to aged water mains in recent years, leading to plans for a series of improvements throughout the city.
The Town Board voted Wednesday to hire Jack McDonald Engineering, of Schenectady, to design the repairs, and for the town to borrow up to $5.1 million, though making the work contingent on the receipt of funding assistance from the state Environmental Facilities Corp. The McDonald contract is potentially worth $451,000, though it will depend on whether the town receives the grant.
The board also voted at its meeting Wednesday to apply for the Environmental Facilities Corp. assistance, which could pay for up to 60 percent of the improvement costs. The grant application deadline is June 23.
Town Supervisor Steven Tommasone said the work has to be done even if the town doesn’t get the grant.
“If we do not get the grant, we will reprioritize what we do, but all this work is absolutely necessary,” Tommasone said.
Major water main breaks in recent years have required major system shutdowns, leaving people with low water pressure or without water during some emergency repairs. That prompted the town to hire McDonald to do a preliminary study, which has been going on for several months and provided the information being used in the grant application.
The preliminary study has recommended upgrades to the pumps in the Great Flats Aquifer due to their age, replacement of the Helderberg water tank and repair and exterior and interior repainting of the May Avenue elevated tank, as well as the addition of 10,000 feet of 24-inch water main along Princetown Road, in the area that has been having the most problems. Replacing the tanks with glass-lined tanks that have lower maintenance costs is also possible, Tommasone said.
The Princetown Road transmission line is the main line between the well field and the populated areas of town.
Tommasone said the town uses 3 million to 5 million gallons of water per day in the winter, and about twice that in the summer.