Committee endorses sewer infrastructure ‘concept’

PHOTOGRAPHER:
Engineer Travis Mitchell, right, gives a report on a sewer infrastructure plan at the Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development & Environment Committee meeting Wednesday at the County Office Building in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

By MICHAEL ANICH

The Leader-Herald

JOHNSTOWN – A Fulton County legislative committee on Wednesday endorsed the “concept” of a massive $29 million sewer infrastructure plan that would start with construction in Northville and run south to Johnstown.

Engineer Travis Mitchell of Clifton Park-based Environmental Design Partnership presented a draft preliminary engineering report on the potential 15-mile infrastructure project to the Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development & Environment Committee at the County Office Building.

“The timing couldn’t be better to have a project advance,” Mitchell said.

The full board may take action April 12.

Fulton County’s 2020 capital plan included a $75,000 appropriation to develop a draft report for sanitary sewer feasibility along the Route 30/30A corridor. The corridor would stretch from the village of Northville-town of Northampton area south through Mayfield and Gloversville and eventually to the Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility in Johnstown.

The entire potential sewer infrastructure project has been discussed since 2012 with Fulton County’s SMART Waters initiative. Officials are excited now to try to tap into state and federal dollars, as infrastructure is discussed on the federal level.

“Its been an interesting project,” county Planning Director Scott Henze stated. “Its taken a bit longer than we expected.”

Mitchell said there exist about 1,800 properties in the “study area” through Northville and Mayfield that could be serviced with new sewer infrastructure. Taking away wetlands and with other factors, he said there is realistically about 1,600 EDUs, or Equivalent Domestic Units that could be served. These include homes, restaurants and other businesses.

Eventually, Mitchell said the number of EDUs over a 20-year period could be increased to 2,800. He said the draft report examined several options such as upgrading the existing sewer systems in the Northampton and Mayfield areas, or extended lines all the way south to Gloversville.

He noted the village of Mayfield in 2019 hired a firm to look at its plant, and a $5.7 million upgrade was listed as an option. The town of Northampton 30-year plant at Sacandaga Park is at capacity and may cost $300,000 to replace.

Mitchell said his firm’s draft report suggested the third option of an all-encompasing system along Route 30 from Northville, flowing south toward Gloversville and eventually treating waste in Johnstown.

The engineer said there may have to be some improvements to the sewer trunk lines through the Glove Cities, where there’s infiltration and inflow. Much relining of pipe may have to occur, he said.

“There seems to be a lot of money coming into infrastructure projects like that,” Mitchell said.

He said there may be as much as $20.7 million in potential funding available for a local infrastructure project estimated to cost in the range of $29 million.

Some of the project may involve decommissioning the Mayfield sewer plant, albeit a pump station may need to be put in.

Mitchell said there are many interested parties in this project, and various approvals would be needed for a Route 30-30A sewer project. They include the cities of Gloversville and Johnstown, the village of Mayfield, Sunset Bay, sewer plant and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

A survey would be needed of residents and businesses along the corridor to “get a feeling for the level of support,” Mitchell said. Most upgrades would probably occur in the next five years, he said.

The plan says about 1.5 million gallons per day of wastewater would be pumped along the corridor.

Mitchell said the first phase would include the village of Mayfield and its sewer plant, possibly $6 million.

“It’s roughly the cost of upgrading that plant,” he said.

A second phase of work would entail an investigation of the city of Gloversville trunk line, he said.

“Anything you do, you’ve got to have the full corridor in mind,” Mitchell said.

Johnstown Town Supervisor Jack Wilson said state Assemblyman Robert Smullen is anxious to get an infrastructure project done in Fulton County. Wilson also suggested U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer be invited to Fulton County to learn about the project.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said “the timing is probably pretty good,” but regulations regarding the sewer project need to be examined closely. A good part art of the project would be going through the Adirondack State Park

Stead said Henze will now be examining in the next two to three months whether this project fits as a potential 2022 county capital project.

“I think infrastructure is the way to go for smaller communities,” Stead said.

By Patricia Older