The towns of Clifton Park and Ballston have resumed buying drinking water from the Saratoga County Water Authority after the authority took measures to reduce potentially harmful chemical compounds in the water.
A $150,000 temporary carbon filtration system went into operation last week in Ballston and has been effective, authority officials said.
The Water Authority board on Thursday awarded $3.3 million in contracts for a permanent filtration system to be installed at the county water treatment plant in Moreau.
Both systems use granular activated carbon to filter out the organic materials that have led to intermittent problems with high levels of chlorination by-products in the county water.
“It’s important for people to have confidence in the safety of their water, and this does that,” said Water Authority Chairman John E. Lawler, R-Waterford.
The Clifton Park Water Authority and town of Ballston both stopped buying water from the authority in October, after the second episode in three years of chemical by-products in the water exceeding the federal standard of 60 parts per billion. The two towns purchased about 1 million gallons combined per day; since last fall they have relied on other water sources.
Ballston Supervisor Patrick Zeigler said that the town resumed buying water about a week ago, after the temporary filtration system built near East Line Road and Route 67 went into operation.
He said Ballston Water Superintendent Joe Whalen will continue to do his own testing through the summer to confirm chemical levels are within acceptable standards.
The problem with high levels of chemicals occurs during the summer, when there are more organic materials in the water the authority draws from the Hudson River, said county Water Authority Executive Director Ed Hernandez. Those organic materials react with chlorine used to disinfect the water to create potentially harmful chemical compounds.
On Thursday, the authority board awarded a $2.9 million contract to Jersen Construction of Waterford to build a permanent carbon filtration system at the treatment plant in Moreau. Smaller electrical and plumbing contracts were also awarded.
Hernandez said the work will begin by late June and be finished by December or January.
The total cost of the new filtration system is expected to be about $4.5 million, including contingency, engineering and bonding costs.
Lawler said it’s too soon to know whether the project will mean water rates have to rise. “We hope not, but we always have that option,” he said. “We’ll know by later in the year.”
With Ballston and Clifton Park again buying its water, the authority is selling about 4 million gallons per day, less than a third of its 14 million-gallon maximum capacity.
The town of Wilton and village of Stillwater have continued to buy water, as has the GlobalFoundries computer chip plant, which is the authority’s largest customer.