Saratoga County

Costs for Ballston sewer project unveiled

The Carpenter's Acres sewer project is estimated to cost $3.9 million
A pump station would improve the water quality of the 3.5-mile-long Ballston Lake.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
A pump station would improve the water quality of the 3.5-mile-long Ballston Lake.

BALLSTON — Residents of the Carpenter’s Acres housing subdivision could soon be required to pay nearly $1,600 per year to hook up to the sewers. 

A draft of the map, plan and report for the Carpenter’s Acres sewer project was provided during Monday’s sewer committee meeting. 

Committee member Ed Hernandez said the project, which was launched in 2015 when residents of the Carpenter’s Acres housing subdivision signed a petition requesting sewers, is estimated to cost $3.9 million. 

Hernandez said there are 134 homes included in the project, and the debt service would come to about $1,301 annually per property. Saratoga County also charges an annual sewer annual fee of $225.

Hernandez said approximately 20 parcels on Rt. 50 that had direct access to sewer systems were removed from the project. 

“It’s a very expensive system,” he said.

Residents of Carpenter’s Acres chose gravity sewers, which transport waste by gravity to a regional pump station before it is sent through a pressurized pipeline called a force main to the treatment plant.

Warren Wheeler, a Carpenter’s Acres resident, said he spoke to several residents in the subdivision about the project. 

“A lot of people in the front are on sandy soil, and those in the rear are on wetlands that shouldn’t have been developed,” he said. “Most of the residences in the back of the development are getting saturated with water, and their septic systems are failing.

“Would you rather spend $20,000 to $40,000 for a new septic or solve the problem with sewers for the next 80 years? Sewers are cleaner and better.”

Carpenter’s Acres resident Jim Callahan doesn’t agree. 

“I’ve lived there for nearly 50 years and never had a problem with my septic,” he said. “I’m not totally against sewers, but it’s the costs that bother me. I can’t afford it, and I know a lot of other residents can’t either.”

Callahan said he hopes the town is able to decrease the costs of the project. 

Next month, the Town Board is expected to vote on a proposed sewer law that would require residents to connect to town sewer systems within three years of their completion. Property owners who do not meet that deadline could be subject to fines of up to $1,000 per day, after the deadline.

Exemptions to the connection law include properties that are more than 300 feet from a sewer system. Also, property owners with annual incomes of less than three times the U.S. poverty threshold would be able to apply for a five-year extension to connect. 

In June, the committee added a new exemption, which states that if a property owner installs a septic system within 10 years of the sewer availability date, connection to the public sewer isn’t required for 15 years, as long as the septic system doesn’t fail. 

Councilman William Goslin said grant opportunities for the Carpenter’s Acres sewer project could be explored. 

“This is a draft and hasn’t been approved by the Town Board, so this is just a step in the process that we’re walking through,” he said. “People want this, and it takes time, but we’ll get there.”

Goslin said the sewer committee plans to create a sub-committee that specifically addresses the Carpenter’s Acres project. 

“The group will make recommendations to the Town Board to accept or deny the map, plan and report,” he said. “We’d like to form the group before the next sewer committee meeting.”

The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Sept. 4 in Town Hall, 323 Charlton Road in Ballston Spa. 

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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