AMSTERDAM — The city is seeking state assistance to pay for the emergency replacement of a downtown water line that froze during the severe cold a few weeks ago.
Amsterdam has applied for $60,000 from the water infrastructure emergency assistance program to permanently replace a line that runs in the area of Chuctanunda Road and Market Street, serving properties on the north side of East Main Street near the Chuctanunda Creek.
City Engineer Richard Miller said there were three businesses without water initially, but all are now getting water from a temporary line that has been run through building basements.
“No one is without water,” he said.
However, the city wants to replace the frozen 2-inch line — which Miller described as “ancient” — with a 6-inch line because of an anticipated increase in demand. The area has several properties that are vacant, and the city hopes to see them redeveloped.
Amsterdam — like communities across upstate — has experienced both frozen and broken water lines this winter, Miller said. Both situations are difficult to deal with, often requiring replacement of the pipe.
Mayor Michael Villa and the City Council last week declared an emergency situation to let repairs start immediately, but Miller said the work will be time-consuming because of the need to plan for working around numerous electrical and gas utilities in the area.
State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, who represents the city, said he has written a letter to state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos supporting the application for the emergency infrastructure funds, which are controlled by the state Environmental Facilities Corp. The fund was created in the 2017-18 state budget.
Amsterdam last year was awarded $5.5 million of Environmental Facilities Corp. funding for water system improvements, including upgrades to the water treatment plant, refurbishment and repainting of the Locust Avenue and Tecler water towers, and distribution system improvements. That work is expected to start in 2018.
“We must continue to help upstate communities like Amsterdam to address aging infrastructure,” said Santabarbara, who authored the legislation providing $2 billion in emergency funds for upstate communities over five years and hopes to see the legislation renewed.
In 2017, Amsterdam received $920,000 from the emergency infrastructure fund to cover the cost of two emergency sewer repairs.