State helps Chatham water with $808K in grants and credit

ALBANY–Governor Cuomo announced last week that $56.4 million in grants awarded to support 30 municipal water infrastructure projects in the Capital District and Mohawk Valley. The Village of Chatham received $484,930 in grant money and approval for $323,287 in a low interest loan to make upgrades at the village reservoir.

According to a release from the governor’s office, this is the first in a series of announcements kicking off the second round of NYS Water Grants. These grants are funded through the state’s Water Infrastructure Improvement Act.

“Investing in our water infrastructure is critical for the growth and vitality of local communities across New York,” Governor Cuomo said in a press release. “This funding will help communities in the Capital Region and Mohawk Valley make necessary upgrades that will improve water quality, protect natural resources and ease burdens on local property taxpayers.”

The projects that received the funding announced on August 5 primarily involve planning, design and construction or enhancement of treatment plants, pump stations, sewer systems and equipment, as well as upgrades and replacements for drinking water systems, filtration plants and water mains.

Chatham Mayor Tom Curran said in an email to The Columbia Paper that the money will fund a water tank that will replace the existing open reservoir on High Street. Mayor Curran said the project will cost $808,000, which includes the design, purchase and installation of the tank and the cost of new pipes to hook it into the system.

“We had the property surveyed and discovered that there is a large enough area to construct the new tank while leaving the reservoir in service,” he wrote. He continued, once the new tank is installed, “we can hook that up, and shut off the old reservoir, with no interruption of service to our household water or fire protection.”

He wrote that the Village Board will discuss the next steps in the project when the board meets Thursday, August 11 at 7 p.m. at the Tracy Memorial Village Hall.

At a board meeting last spring, Village Engineer Pat Prendergast told the board that it was not standard to have an open reservoir like the one the village uses. Mr. Prendergast also pointed out the expense of treating the water at the reservoir twice–once as it goes into the reservoir and again as it enters the system that supplies customers. He also said at the time that thousands of gallons of water leaks from the reservoir daily.

The 2016-17 state budget includes $100 million in grants for water infrastructure improvements. This additional funding allowed the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) to broaden eligibility for wastewater projects and provide a total of $175 million in grants for round two. EFC provides interest-free and low-interest loans to communities to further reduce the cost of infrastructure projects.

Grant awards were based on a scoring system that gave priority to projects that result in the greatest water quality improvement or reduction in risk to public health and are positioned to advance to construction, among other considerations.

Since 2011, the state has invested approximately $9 billion in both wastewater and drinking water grants, low and interest-free loans, as well as loan re-financings.

More information go to www.efc.ny.gov/CWSRF(for wastewater projects) and www.efc.ny.gov/DWSRF (for drinking water projects).

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