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Municipalities discuss water issues with Rep. Tonko at summit

Municipalities discuss water issues with Rep. Tonko at summit

Infrastructure needs among issues
Municipalities discuss water issues with Rep. Tonko at summit
U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko (left) and Clifton Park Supervisor Phil Barrett get a look at how water is used at Shmaltz to create beer.
Photographer: Kassie Parisi

CLIFTON PARK — U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko met with local town officials and business owners to discuss local drinking water systems.

Tonko met with Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett, Halfmoon Town Supervisor Kevin Tollisen, and representatives from Shmaltz Brewing on Friday afternoon at the brewery in Clifton Park.

Tonko was given a tour of the brewery that was followed by a roundtable discussion of how nearby towns work together to make their water systems more efficient, as well as touching on what might be done at the federal level to improve water systems. The stop was the last event on Tonko’s week-long Drinking Water System Tour.

The federal government, Tonko said, needs to assists local governments with maintaining essential services such as clean water systems, but also with maintaining other water systems such as sewer systems. His goal with the tour, he said, was to raise public awareness and support for fully funding water systems.

“It can’t just be that forgotten infrastructure,” he said on Friday.

He noted that towns have a huge burden on their hands with trying to manage the water systems they currently have -- systems that are often burdened by old sewers or a lack of places to secure clean drinking water without spending large amounts of money.

“It’s heavy,” Tonko said of the burden.

Municipalities recently have run into issues with their water supplies.

In January, a notice was sent to 2,000 Clifton Park Water Authority customers of a spike in Haloacetic acids (HAAs) found in a November sampling of the water supply. 

Ultimately, the spike was deemed as not something that would harm water consumers, and the SCWA, which provided the water that contained the chemicals, said it would work with Clifton Park to prevent future chemical spikes.

In August, Mechanicville was under a boil-water advisory for two weeks due to turbidity in its supply.

While Tonko toured the Shmaltz facility, brewery officials explained how the beer company utilizes water in its manufacturing process.

Water is supplied to the brewery by CPWA that is taken from groundwater-fed lakes and from the Colonie Channel aquifer. 

In 2017, Shmaltz estimated that it used from 5 to 6 million gallons of water annually, with approximately 500,000 gallons used each month. 

Eighty-seven percent of the water went toward rinsing, cleaning and sanitizing the brewing equipment. Twelve percent went toward beer yield, and the company estimated that 1 percent of the water was lost to evaporation.

"Water is the main ingredient in beer by volume, making up more than 90 percent of the final product," the company said in a press release. "The ability to adjust water intake in response to varying needs for beer production is essential to the business."

Barrett said different sources of water supply two different areas of Clifton Park.

Customers who live north of Ushers Road receive water that the Clifton Park Water Authority purchases from the Saratoga County Water Authority, which uses the upper Hudson River as its source. 

CPWA customers in the southern end of the company's service area receive water from the Boyack Treatment Plant or Berry Farm Treatment Plant. 

Round Lake began buying its water from CPWA after the village decided to abandon its reservoir.

Tollisen said Halfmoon has a long-term contract to get water from Troy. Halfmoon also recently entered into an agreement with SCWA to provide water as well.

“We’re all working together in our area,” he said.

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