Village Board considers Saratoga Hills’ new water supply connection plans

yellow mobile home
Saratoga Hills mobile home

The owners of Saratoga Hills are seeking permission to make direct connection to the village’s water supply system in an effort to increase water pressure to the mobile home park off Lake Avenue and save money on daily operations.

Brady Sherlock, project engineer for the Chazen Companies, presented preliminary plans for the project to the village Board of Trustees at the Nov. 18 monthly meeting, in hopes of getting the changes up and running by the spring.

The village buys its water from the Saratoga County Water Authority (SCWA). The water supply is piped from the SCWA Moreau treatment plan through a high-pressure transmission line to the village’s Hillside holding tank. From there, an altitude valve reduces the high pressure so it can be safely discharged to village homes and businesses.

In the case of Saratoga Hills, however, that reduction in pressure requires the park to use its own booster pumps to increase the pressure again as it sends the water from an underground storage tank to its 300-site mobile home and RV park on Maple Lane.

To eliminate the need for the park’s booster pumps and the underground storage tank as well, the new proposal calls for connecting the park directly into the SCWA’s main water transmission line before the altitude values slow the water pressure down. The change would save the park the money to run the booster pumps and eliminate the need for a second chlorination process in the park’s underground holding tank.

“One of the cons is that we would be losing our holding tank because it would no longer be utilized,” Sherlock said. “But we wouldn’t have to pay for electricity and the cost of maintaining the pumps. The benefits outweigh the drawbacks at this point.”

Trustee John Basile, the board’s water department liaison, said he didn’t anticipate problems with the new concept and added the board would want to consider a long-term water purchase contract with Saratoga Hills owner Stillwater Elgen LLC. The park, built in 1970, uses about 32,000 gallons of village water per day on average.

Sherlock said the Saratoga County Department of Health has given approval of the conceptual plans but further engineering and design is need before final approval “hopefully over the winter months. We’d like to put the work out to bid in the spring,” he said.

GE settlement fund alternatives

In other business, village Trustees began discussions this month on a list of alternatives for using the remaining settlement funds from the General Electric Co. lawsuit. From the 1940s to 1977, General Electric discharged PCBs into the Hudson River from two upstream plants and the company was ordered to dredge 40 miles of riverbed between Fort Edward and Troy.

The discharges polluted the village water supply, forcing it to shut down its water treatment plant and connect to the SCWA to supply village drinking water. The village joined other river municipalities in filing a lawsuit against GE to recover the money it was forced to spend.

The village received about $4.3 million in the GE settlement this year and in October, paid back a $3.9 million USDA hardship loan it was granted for the capital expenses it incurred to connect to the SCWA.

The village, as of the November meeting, has $858,925 in remaining settlement funds following the USDA loan repayment and about $155,000 in its water budget from resident payments of EDU water rents.

Basile presented to Trustees a list of work that remains to be completed to resolve the village’s water issues, some of which could be financed with the GE money. They include:

  • $270,000 to pay back a loan taken to do repairs on the now closed village water treatment plant, which is PCB contaminated and can never be used again
  • $386,000 to permanently remove the old water treatment plant, seal its wells and make the area a green space
  • $155,000 to repair and painting the Hillside water holding tank
  • $185,000 to replace 1,400 feet of underground piping to the Hillside tank that has suffered breaks and is corroding
  • returning a portion of EDU money to village residents

“These are the options facing us as I see them,” Basile said. “And there may be other things we’re not considering here.”

The board tabled the matter at this time for further discussion.

In other business on Nov. 18:

  • Trustee Timothy Campbell reported that village DPW crews have stop work on the new playground for the winter, will be taking the basketball hoops down, sweeping the court and readying it for preparation of the village ice rink.
    Trustee Ellen Vomacka reported that the village will be applying for funds from the Stillwater Global Foundaries grant to purchase a new sign for the fire department.
  • Trustee Judy Wood-Shaw reported that the village Senior Time program continues to be successful and that she has participated in several “tabletop” drills involving the Emergency Management Team – the latest involving a major flooding event.
  • Trustees Vomacka and Wood-Shaw also reported that they will be meeting with village Historian Linda Sanders to begin planning the village Bicentennial in 2016.
  • Fire Chief Jeff Mahar reported he has been in contact with a professional grant writing firm to help secure federal funding to purchase more than a dozen new air packs for the Newland-Wood Fire Company No. 59. The grant takes three months to complete and would not be decided until 2015, he said.