water

Altamont Reservoir

The Altamont Reservoir may shortly have a new purpose if a proposed solar farm for the village-owned land in Knox gets the green light from the Altamont Board of Trustees. The timing couldn’t be better, as this week the 120-year-old dam was identified as among the worst in the country. 

After an Associated Press report called attention to the safety rating of dams across the country, the Albany Water Board commissioner assured that the Basic Creek Reservoir Dam is inspected “weekly, monthly, yearly.”

Joe Coffey, the commissioner of the city of Albany Water Department, said that the city generally never uses the Basic Creek Reservoir in the late summer and early fall because of its tendency to have algae blooms, both toxic and nontoxic.

The Altamont reservoir — the lower part in the foreground is filled with water; the upper part in the background, appears nearly dry on July 22 — hasn’t been used in nearly 12 years. For the past three to four years, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation has recommended that the village keep the reservoir levels low to take some of the pressure off the dams in case of a big storm.

We urge municipal leaders to inform the public of what they know and to apply for funds to find out what they don’t.

The problem in 2018 spiked in summer, when it is easy for algae to take hold, town officials say.

Officials are not sure of the extent of contamination, or if the streams behind the property run to the Watervliet Reservoir, but they are proceeding as if the streams do enter the reservoir, said Rick Georgeson, spokesman for the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation’s Region 4.

After being re-appointed to the town’s water board and again offering a monthly report on Westerlo’s water district, William Bichteman said the district is still financially strapped as more expenses arise.

Westerlo town leaders asserted that the level of chemicals detected in the water was always there, but that state standards changed. The state’s health department, however, said the standards have not changed.

WESTERLO — The public raised concerns about contamination of the the town’s water with bromomethane at Westerlo’s town board meeting last Tuesday.

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