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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 14, 2010

Village board mulls best way to fix aging sewer system

By Jo E. Prout

ALTAMONT — The village board is considering two options as it upgrades its wastewater treatment plant to reduce the flow of excess stormwater into the plant’s filtration system.

The plan, approved in December, had three phases, at a cost of $5,000 per resident over time, Richard Straut, an engineer with Barton & Loguidice, told the board at its meeting last Tuesday.

In December, Straut had estimated it would take 15 years and cost $3.7 million to address the twofold problem of village-wide pipe leaks and an aging sewer plant that, during heavy rain or snow, violates environmental laws by releasing polluted stormwater.

On Tuesday, Straut suggested consolidating two of the three phases together, using a 50-percent subsidy loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund with, ultimately, a 2-percent rate. The cost per resident of consolidated phases would be $3,730, which breaks down to $10 per month per resident.

“We’re just beginning the discussion tonight,” said Trustee Christine Marshall.

Mayor James Gaughan reiterated that replacing the sequencing biological reactors and the plant’s filters at the same time would cost more money initially, but save money over time. Marshall said that the 20-year-old filters currently used would not be able to handle the flow that would result from new SBRs during high-water events.

Gaughan said that the village could use $65,000 from reserve accounts to cover part of the cost, and that the treasurer may be able to find $90,000.

Trustee William Aylward questioned whether or not the new SBRs would remove the inflow and infiltration of stormwater, known as I / I.

“Those things cost a fortune!” he said.

Straut said that leaks in the century-old village stormwater system are widespread and that finding, and plugging, each would cost millions of dollars. The alternative the board approved in December would allow the village to find and plug leaks slowly, while treating excess flow according to state regulations.

“You still will have I / I,” Straut said. “You’ll have I / I even if you plugged every hole.”

Altamont is on a state Department of Conservation consent order, Gaughan said.

“We have to address processing sewage,” he said.

“This will be a tax increase,” Aylward said. People will be “paying this for 20 to 25 years,” he said.

“We don’t have a choice,” said Trustee Kerry Dineen. “We’re at the time where things age.”

Straut confirmed for the mayor that each violation of the consent order after 2013 will cost $35,000.

Other business

In recent business, the board:

 — Accepted the resignation of part-time police officer Brian Canam;

— Resolved that the annual audit of the Altamont Justice Court’s records was conducted Sept. 29 by village Treasurer Catherine Hasbrouck.

“Is everything OK over there?” Gaughan asked.

“Yes, she’s doing a good job,” Hasbrouck said about Justice Rebecca Hout;

— Heard from resident Cindy Pollard that the police department did a “fine job” finding a statue that had been stolen from outside her village restaurant.

“As a business owner in Altamont, I like this board. This is one of the very best balanced boards Altamont has ever had,” Pollard said; and

— Viewed a video made by longtime summer counselor Zach Appio of children playing during the summer recreation program . The heartwarming two-minute show earned applause from the audience and the board.

“This will go down in history as the most exciting meeting we’ve ever had,” Gaughan said.

Village Clerk Patty Blackstone told The Enterprise that the village is working on streaming the video onto its website.

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