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As city awaits grant money, sewage leak into Amsterdam's Chuctanunda continues

As city awaits grant money, sewage leak into Amsterdam's Chuctanunda continues

A NY-Alert for sewage spills released Monday showed the sewer line is currently leaking untreated sewage at a rate of a half-gallon per minute
As city awaits grant money, sewage leak into Amsterdam's Chuctanunda continues
Photographer: Marc Schultz/Gazette Photographer

A damaged sewer line near 27-31 Main St. continues to leak raw sewage into the Chuctanunda Creek as city officials wait to receive state grant funding to repair it.  

A NY-Alert for sewage spills released Monday showed the sewer line is currently leaking untreated sewage at a rate of a half-gallon per minute. The spill cannot be contained without an expensive infrastructure replacement. 

According to the alert, the leak started May 16 at 8:30 a.m. due to a rusted out pipe. While city officials attempted to put a "sleeve" over that pipe, it "was so corroded" that the sleeve ended up crushing the pipe, making the leak worse. 

For a period of time after pipe was crushed, the rate of the leak jumped to 10 gallons of raw sewage per minute. The city was eventually able to apply an additional patch that included packing material that reduced the leak down to a half-gallon per minute. 

The leak has been ongoing for more than 850 hours, and, between the two rates of leakage, has likely resulted in more than 80,000 gallons of raw sewage being dumped into the Chuctanunda Creek. 

While Mayor Michael Villa said Amsterdam has applied to the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation for grant funding to cover the expenses to finish the repair to the sewer line, he has not heard anything about getting approved over the holiday weekend. His rough estimate of the cost to make the repair is between $150,000 to $200,000. 

"Not only is this a big job, but it's a very difficult replacement because of the location," Villa said.  

Amsterdam has had a host of problems with its sewer infrastructure in recent years, with major sewage leaks at 216 Forest Ave. and 46 Swan St. in 2017, which resulted in millions of gallons of raw sewage leaking into the Mohawk River. That year, Amsterdam became the first New York state municipality to receive funding through the Water Infrastructure Emergency Assistance Program.  

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issues sewage leak reports through the NY-Alert system to comply with the 2013 Sewage Pollution Right to Know law. The reports can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/chemical.

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