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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 7, 2006

Town water to flow to New Salem"

By Rachel Dutil

NEW SALEM – This New Scotland hamlet with water supplied by the neighboring town of Bethlehem may one day have a water district of its own.

At this point, says Ed Clark, the town supervisor, it is only in the planning stage, and it is "a long, complicated process that doesn’t always work out."

"What we’re doing in New Salem is to address system weaknesses," said R. Mark Dempf, an engineer for the town of New Scotland. It’s a system that needs attention, he said; it is more than 50 years old.

"All people would prefer to have municipal water, because many wells are unreliable," Clark said.

The towns of New Scotland and Bethlehem are discussing an intermunicipal agreement for water in New Scotland, said Oliver Holmes, commissioner of public works for the town of Bethlehem.

Bethlehem owns theVly Creek Reservoir, which is located in the town of New Scotland. A pipeline runs from the reservoir along Route 85, through New Salem and into Bethlehem. The homes along that road in New Salem have Bethlehem water from the reservoir piped to their homes. They are billed for their water by the town of Bethlehem.

Holmes told The Enterprise that New Scotland hopes to buy from Bethlehem a "specified amount of water for whatever purposes they choose to use it for."

If the agreement were to be worked out, the water would come from either the Vly Creek Reservoir or the city of Albany, and would be piped to residences in New Scotland, Holmes said. Bethlehem would "sell the quantity that New Scotland needs," he said.

The water would be sold to New Scotland, which would then bill the customers, he explained.

"We haven’t finalized anything," Holmes said.

Clark said that there is no projected date yet. But, he said, "The very earliest, most optimistic date would be five years from now."

Funding process

The New Salem water district project is listed in this year’s Intended Use Plan, which is necessary to be eligible for state funding, said Susan Mayer, director of corporate communications for the Environmental Facilities Corporation.

The applicant must first submit a pre-listing form, explaining the general parameters of the project, said Mayer.

The next step is submitting an application. With the application, various documents are required, such as, engineering reports, environmental reports, and financial reports, she said.

The New Salem Water District is listed in the IUP with a score of 60, and a project cost of more than $5 million; it is to serve 486 residents.

The score is based on both technical and nontechnical criteria. According to the IUP, the criteria are: maximum contaminant level/treatment technique violations, sanitary code violations, system reliability/dependability issues, governmental needs, and financial needs.

The projects with the greatest risk to the public health are given the highest priority, and therefore, a higher score.

"After projects are scored, they are ranked. The highest score is ranked first," said Mayer. Projects are awarded funding in order of rank, she explained.

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