Other funds needed for water expansion in Hoosick Falls

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HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. - Village leaders will seek other funding sources to expand the municipal water system, after learning they may not receive grant money from a state agency.

Officials with the village and town of Hoosick had worked with an engineering firm to apply for funds to extend water and sewer to properties with PFOA-contaminated drinking wells.

But they've learned a proposed project won't be eligible for grants unless a water district - a new municipality - is formed, according to Mayor David Borge. And the project's ranking by the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC), which administers programs which finance water-infrastructure projects, was not high enough to be eligible for no-interest loans, or grants. The project would only be eligible for subsidized loans.

"Based on that, we're on hold," Borge said at Tuesday's Village Board meeting.

He said the village will work with the offices of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Kathleen Marchione (R-Halfmoon) to find other funding sources.

Officials had hoped to use grant money or low-interest or no interest financing to extend the village's municipal water to properties affected by PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid.

Engineers with the MRB Group proposed doing so in six "phases" that would cover 23 additional service areas. Phase one would have extended water service north from where it ends at High Street (Route 22) to Hoosick Junction and the intersection of Route 67 in North Hoosick; and south from the River Street bridge to serve River Road (Route 22), and Bovie Hill Road and Lester Lane, to the Hoosick Falls Central School. Water mains on Snow Street and from Carr Street to Webster Avenue would also be replaced. Laying nearly 30,000 linear-feet of pipe and installing a new booster station on Rensselaer Street was estimated to cost $5.3 million. And extending the sewer main to the school would cost $1.8 million.

The EFC last month published its Intended Use Plans for its Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) and Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), for projects to be funded in fiscal 2017. The water line project was rated 100, and the sewer, 35. But many projects scored higher on the scale, up to 3,000.

Resident Kevin Allard said it was "quite fortunate" the $46,000 feasibility study was paid for by the state and not by either municipalities, calling it a "complete waste of money."

"This is just going nowhere," Allard said.

"No, it isn't," Borge replied.

Borge, in continuing an agenda item on a water update, said upgrades to the treatment plant are on schedule to be done by the end of December. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics agreed to fund a granulated activated carbon (GAC) filter. That company and Honeywell International are responsible for contamination, according to the state. Both companies signed consent orders with the state.

Officials have said they will seek to recover costs from both companies. The village is close to reaching an agreement with them, Borge said.

"We have an agreement in principle," Borge said. "I want to see a printed, signed agreement."

Reach Edward Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111 or @edamon_banner.


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