Replacement of major parts of Rotterdam's aging town water system will start in 2018, following the town's receipt earlier this month of a $3 million state water improvement grant.
While the $5.1 million project will be the biggest investment in the town's water infracture in more than a half-century, the loan-grant package awarded by the state should mean that individual water bills will rise by only a few dollars to pay for the work, Town Supervisor Steven Tommasone said.
"It's outstanding news for the town," Tommasone said. "The projects, should we have undertaken them by ourselves, they would have cost taxpayers a substantial amount of money."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Oct. 5 announced that the town will receive financing for the full project through the state Environmental Facilities Corp., with the package including a $3 million grant and $2.1 million low-interest loan. The city of Amsterdam also received a $3 million grant; they were the largest water grant awarded in the Capital Region and Mohawk Valley.
"We're real fortunate that Gov. Cuomo has paid so much attention to infrastructure," Tommasone said.
The town applied for state financial assistance in June, amid growing concern that the town's water system was deteriorating due to age, leading to a number of costly water main break repairs in recent years. McDonald Engineering of Schenectady was awarded a design contract potentially worth $451,000 that is included in the financing.
Rotterdam's major water infrastructure was installed in the early 1960s, meaning it is now nearly 60 years old.
Design work will take place this fall and winter, with construction to start in 2018. Tommasone said the work could take up to three years, but will have long-term benefits for the entire town.
"People have to keep in mind with infrastructure that there's a long-term payoff," he said. "More business will come to Rotterdam and we won't have water main breaks."
The work will include replacing several thousand feet of the 24-inch main that brings water from the town's wellfield off Rice Road to the populated sections of town, with some realignment of the pipe. Some valves and fire hydrants that are no longer operational will be replaced.
At the well field, new pumping equipment, valves and piping will be installed, and a new backup chlorination system will be installed. A failure in the current chlorination system earlier this year led to a precautionary boil-water order for most of the town.
There will also be cleaning and new epoxy applications for the Highbridge/Carmen and Helderberg Avenue storage tanks.
Also next year, Tommasone said the town will move on to studying some smaller projects the Town Board didn't want to tackle until it knew how the big project would be financed. They include upgrades to the small separate water system serving Rotterdam Junction and stormwater management improvements, he said.
Rotterdam, with about 28,000 residents, uses from 5 million to 10 million gallons of water per day, depending on the time of year.