ROTTERDAM -- The town is about to bring a new $1.6 million drinking water well on line, funded largely through the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery.
The fifth well at the town's Rice Road wellfield was elevated about 14 feet, putting it above the 500-year flood plain of the Mohawk River, which lies just a few hundred feet away. The wells tap into the deep Great Flats Aquifer, not the river.
The wells were threatened to the point where employees evacuated, but not flooded, during the severe flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, and officials want to be sure the system will survive future storms.
"These upgrades are going to ensure we have uninterrupted service and potable water during any future storms," Natalie Wright, executive director of NY Rising Community Reconstruction, Infrastructure and Small Business Programs for the Office of Storm Recovery, said during a completion ceremony on Wednesday.
The Office of Storm Recovery provided $1.2 million in funding, and the town of Rotterdam put up $360,000. Construction has taken about a year and a half.
The town system can currently produce a maximum of 10 million gallons of water per day, and the new well will increase that once it is brought online. Town residents use an average of about 4.5 million gallons per day, but as much as 8 million gallons on a hot summer day.
"What it does for Rotterdam is help ensure we'll never be out of water," said Town Supervisor Steven A. Tommasone.
The new well can produce up to 4.5 million gallons of water per day, allowing the town to take older wells out of service for repair or retrofitting, said Ian Bonthron, the town's water treatment plant operator.
"This is an example of what the state should be doing ... which is concentrating on infrastructure," said state Sen. George Amedore, R-Rotterdam.
The Office of Storm Recovery continues to work on projects that were initiated in response to the flooding caused in 2011 by tropical storms Irene and Lee. It will be contributing at least $3 million toward the replacement of the Ferry Street sewage pumping station in Schenectady, which is expected to start construction this year.
The state storm responsive program has also paid $1.9 millon toward an addition to the Rotterdam Junction fire station, to upgrade the station and so it can serve as an emergency shelter if there are future floods. The 2011 storms devastated Rotterdam Junction, with the fire company playing a critical role in the recovery.
In Montgomery County, the state program has paid for large standby generators to establish several emergency shelter locations in Amsterdam, restoration of the historic Old Fort Johnson Museum, sewer improvements on state Route 5 in Amsterdam, and culvert replacements in the towns of Amsterdam and Florida.