SARATOGA SPRINGS — A breakfast joint owner on the city limits of Saratoga Springs bought packs of bottled water in Glenville en route to work early Monday morning. Refrigerated ice isn’t an option.
The Kettle owner Linda Barndt isn’t taking any chances.
“Everybody’s taking it pretty good,” she said. “They get it.”
Saratoga Springs Department of Public Works Commissioner Jason Golub anticipates a boil water advisory, issued citywide Sunday morning as a result of a since-repaired water main break on the corner of Excelsior and East avenues, to remain in effect until late Tuesday.
In order for the advisory to be lifted, the state Department of Health must determine that, at minimum, water samples from the system meet regulatory contamination standards within a two-day window. At this point Monday, one sample has been OK’d from the agency’s Glens Falls office.
“It’s kind of just a waiting game,” said Grace Farrone, an employee at Saratoga Coffee Traders.
The city amassed 78,120 water bottles for distribution. Forty-three of the pallets were purchased from DeCrescente Distributing Company and 3.5 loads were donated by Saratoga Eagle Sales & Services.
City commissioners, supervisors, Mayor Ron Kim and a number of helpers loaded up vehicles drive-thru style starting at noon Monday outside of Saratoga High School.
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“Could you pop your trunk?” Kim asked a woman picking up water for five families.
“Just open it,” the woman responded.
Some residents drove up to the school as early as 10 a.m. One driver, according to Saratoga Springs Supervisor Tara Gaston, drove over a parking lot sidewalk to ask for a case (70 bottles).
Seven pallets from the handout will be distributed throughout the Saratoga Springs City School District. Cafeteria staff is expected to boil water as needed.
All of the district’s eight schools will be open Tuesday, advisory notwithstanding. With the 6,400-student-plus system closed on Monday in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday, city administration on Sunday requested the use of the high school lot.
“I said, ‘absolutely,'” said district Superintendent Mike Patton. “It’s a great spot for a central location.”
Some 12,550 households and 5,365 employer establishments encompass the scope of the city. A number of hotels, restaurants and healthcare services shifted operations to halt tap water usage, according to the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce.
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Public Works Commissioner Golub suspects that the line, a major artery of Saratoga Springs’ water infrastructure, had succumbed to old age. The DPW recently replaced piping on North Broadway that was more than 90 years old.
“If you look at what we accomplished in 2022, there were some big projects that were around exactly this issue — fixing aging infrastructure,” Golub said. “So that will continue, but in the meantime you’re gonna’ have things like this where an old pipe, for what appears to be no specific reason, just bursts.”
In 2023, DPW expects to upgrade water mains on State Street, Alger Street and potentially Clinton Street. Kim believes that the Jan. 1 fracture makes the case for the city to receive more federal and state water infrastructure grants.
Over the years, water main breaks typically affect small portions of Spa City. The last boil water advisory to affect the whole city was in early July 2021, causing major disruption to businesses on the eve of Independence Day weekend.
Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-527-7659 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @TylerAMcNeil.