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Clifton Park puts surplus sewer funds into Knolls system

Clifton Park puts surplus sewer funds into Knolls system

The town is spending more than $1.2 million to upgrade infrastructure at one of its oldest housing d

The town is spending more than $1.2 million to upgrade infrastructure at one of its oldest housing developments.

Sewer lines in Clifton Knolls and pump stations throughout the town will be upgraded for $1.15 million, using surplus funds from Sewer District No. 1 rather than borrowing money.

The project will replace corroded, 1960s-era sewer lines, said town Supervisor Phil Barrett.

“Obviously the system isn’t young anymore,” Barrett said. “These were the old asbestos pipes.”

Work is wrapping up now and is expected to be completed by the end of the month. Workers replaced sewer lines on Barney Road, South Barney Road and Valencia Lane, as well as on Twilight Drive, which is not in Clifton Knolls.

Pump stations throughout the town will be upgraded, with work continuing into the spring.

The Clifton Knolls sanitary sewer system was built and operated by Van Patten builders; the late Robert Van Patten Sr. built some 4,000 homes in the town in various developments.

Van Patten started building the 800-home Clifton Knolls development in the 1960s, his second residential project in the town, after the much smaller Country Club Acres off Route 146 in Rexford. About eight years ago, the company abandoned the sewer system to the town, which at the time didn’t even have a sewer department.

“There’s several thousand customers that we inherited very quickly,” Barrett said.

Also in the neighborhood, the town just finished a $127,000 project replacing a culvert system that will allow for lowering the level of the pond at Barney Road Golf Course and saving residents’ basements from flooding.

Higher levels in the “upper lake” on the course seemed to lead to swamped basements in the area, especially on nearby Par Del Rio.

“Some of them are running sump pumps almost continuously all springtime and even into the summer months,” said Jeff Trzeciak, an engineer for John M. McDonald Engineering of Schenectady, the town’s engineer.

The problems started in 2003, when a 30-inch metal pipe under Barney Road connecting two of the ponds collapsed. The pipe was replaced, but people complained of more wet basements after that.

“Pond levels have been high,” Trzeciak said. “They basically needed more control of the upper pond.”

The new system includes a 36-inch plastic pipe, a concrete intake structure and a winch to move the gates up and down, allowing the water level to rise or fall. The upper pond holds 15 million gallons of water, which is used to irrigate the town-owned golf course.

“In the summer you want to leave the water levels a little bit higher,” Trzeciak said, but in the winter, the level should be lower so spring rainfall and snow melt don’t overwhelm the system.

The water travels in the culvert under Barney Road to a lower pond, which discharges into Stony Creek. The creek then discharges into the Stony Creek Reservoir.

The original creek was dammed to create several ponds in the area.

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