Valatie tests produce slight whiffs of trouble

VALATIE–The results of sewer line smoke tests designed to look for cracks and leaks were discussed by the Village Board at their May 14 meeting.

The testing was conducted by New York Rural Water Association (NYRWA) May 7 and 8 on some of the pipes in the village. Mayor Diane Argyle said that through the testing some issues were found, though she said after the meeting that they all required only minor repairs that were the responsibility of the property owners.

The village did have to cap a sewer line in front of the Valatie Theatre, which is owned by the village. The problem there was also discovered through the smoke test. The mayor said the village will be doing more testing on other pipes soon.

According to an email sent out to residents, “This testing is being carried out in response to a demand by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). While there has been no flow exceedance or violation of the wastewater permit, the NYSDEC has authority to choose to enforce at its discretion a clause requiring investigation….The purpose of these tests is to locate any possible break or defects in the collection system.”

The email said residents might see smoke coming from vent stacks on buildings or from holes in the ground. “The smoke has no odor, is non-toxic, non-staining, does not create a fire hazard, and will dissipate in a few minutes,” the email reads.

It goes on to say, “If smoke should enter your building during the test, it probably means that there are defects in the plumbing that could allow DANGEROUS SEWER GAS to enter. Note the location of any such smoke and contact the Wastewater Department.”

Additional tests will be done in a different part of the village July 30 and 31.

The mayor said at the meeting that NYRWA, the largest membership organization representing small water/wastewater systems in the state, was asking the board to sign a letter supporting a state Senate bill that would establish a fund for repairs to water and sewer infrastructure.

A bill sponsored by James Tedisco (R-49th) and passed by the Senate last June would establish “the safe water and infrastructure action program for the purpose of making payments toward the replacement and rehabilitation of existing local municipally-owned and funded drinking water, storm water and sanitary sewer systems.” The proposed law would apply “to any county, city, town or village drinking water system, storm water system or sanitary sewer system within the state that is not under the maintenance and/or operational jurisdiction of the state nor any private entity.”

Supporters of the bill compare it to the CHIPS funding from the state that municipalities receive yearly for highway and road repairs. This program would be called the Safe Water Infrastructure Action Program (SWAP).

The bill did not move forward after committee review in the Assembly last year, according to the Assembly website.

The Village Board agreed to sign the letter to the governor and Assemblyman Jake Ashby (R-107th) supporting the bill.

The board also passed a motion to move forward with borrowing $200,000 for electrical work at the village water pump station and for a filter system at one of the village wells. Mayor Argyle said that they needed to borrow the money to “get the work done.”

Also at the meeting, the board heard the general plans from Mike Rivenburg about a brewery he hopes to open on Main Street in the building at the corner of Main and Church streets. Mr. Rivenburg will still have to go to the village Planning Board for a site plan review and to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a change use for the building.

He stressed that the brewery would not sell food but there would be a tasting room that seats about 50 people. The rest of the space would be used for the brewing equipment. Mr. Rivenburg asked the board about adding a door on the Church Street side of the building to take deliveries, though he said his project is not looking for any new curb cuts in the sidewalk.

“We have no zoning for breweries on our laws,” Mayor Argyle said. But she said that after talking to the village building inspector, there are laws in the New York State building code that can be used.

The building was most recently a Pilates studio and had been a knitting shop. At one time it was a market.

The board also discussed the plans for the Memorial Day Parade in the village Monday, May 27. Line-up for the parade will be at Holly Hills and step-off is at 10 a.m., Fire Chief Rustin Dolan told the board. The route of the parade will go from Holly Hills along Route 203 to Main Street.

The next Village Board meeting will be June 11 at 7 p.m. in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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