Thursday, 05 March 2020 13:24

Sewer Project Backed-Up

BALLSTON — After beginning the Ballston Lake Sewer Project in 2015, Town of Ballston officials hope to start the $17 million construction of the system this spring.

However, attaining a $5 million grant has halted the project until further notice. 

The town received notice about being awarded a $5 million Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grant for the Ballston Lake Sewer project the week of Dec. 16, 2019. On Jan. 3, 2020 the board received a letter from the Director of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) stating the Office of the State Comptroller (OFC) would review the DEC’s paperwork. Once approved through OFC, the DEC would provide additional information to the Town of Ballston to create the contract. 

“We knew in December that we got the grant. The biggest concern we have is the construction season. Our contractors who have bid have all said they will hold the price until May,” Wes DeVoe, sewer committee member.

After the $5 million grant has been awarded, the board plans to have a $1.8 million contingency. According to the last meeting minutes, Ballston Town Supervisor, Eric Connolly said given the stage of the project that he is comfortable with that contingency.

Project funding was awarded as follows: $2.55 million grant Water Infrastructure Improvement Act (WIIA), $5 million grant WQIP, $7.65 million loan, $2.55 million loan from NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation Additional Funding. Total combined funding to total $17,754,661.

The project construction was approved in October 2015. A resolution was passed in October 2018 that capped what the town could pay at $12.8 million. Originally estimated at $12.5 million, bids for the project first came in at a cost millions higher than anticipated. 

“We chopped it into five pieces and we sent out bids to five companies. Some parts are small and others not so we broke it down that way. So we did get more bids,” DeVoe said. 

DeVoe said the initial bid on the project was around $10 million. The total bids the town has now totals $17 million but the additional $7 million added to the project is from NYS.

“So the dollar that the people voted on does not change or go up. Homeowners around the lake, also known as the sewage district, can expect about $900 in increased taxes,” DeVoe said.

During the February meeting, Drew Hamelink, chairman of the Sewer Committee, said they have received written price locks with the three largest contractors, locking up roughly 93 percent of the project costs through May 1. The remaining contractor gave a lock until Feb 1, which has since been extended by six-weeks.

In 2015 the sewer committee and town board selected Adirondack Mountain Engineering PC to operate as the project-engineering contractor. President of the company, Ed Hernandez did not attend the meeting.

Ballston Lake was added to NYS Priority Water Bodies List in 2012 as an impaired water body. The list defines a water body that cannot support uses. 

As part of the solution to mitigate the impacts to the lake, town officials proposed a goal to construct a sewer collection system for any equivalent dwelling units (EDU) adjacent to the lake including Main Street and Buell Heights. 

EDU are defined as one single-family residential household. There are 700 parcels in total, with a number of the properties adjacent to the lake on the east side lying within the town of Clifton Park. 560 EDU in Ballston and 91 EDU in Clifton Park. 

The Town of Ballston adopted a Sewer Use Law through which all properties located within a set distance of the completed sewer main will be required to connect to the system. DeVoe said any EDU in Clifton Park would not be required to hook into the system but the two towns have been working together. In fact, there are two representatives from the Town of Clifton Park on the Sewer Committee board as well as residents in the sewage district and Ballston Town members.

Each EDU would be responsible for installing a grinder system that could cost the homeowner up to $5,000 for installation. 

“The current cost of the Saratoga County standard is $5,300 list price,” Hamelink said.

However, a sliding scale discount can be put in place that allows a 30 percent discount in the first year that slides back each year by five percent.

The proposed 2015 sewer district included parcels around the lake on the east side from East Side Drive and Schauber Road to Lake Road extending to Eastline Road. On the west side of the lake, it included Westside Drive from Mill Road and Main Street, Glenridge Road, Whites Beach Road, Powers Lane and Outlet Road to a connection point on Lake Road. Also included is Buell Heights neighborhood.

Properties along the lake would utilize a low-pressure force main and would require each service connection to be equipped with the grinder pump station. 

Sewers in the Buell Heights residential subdivision and along Main Street are anticipated to be conventional gravity-type. Wastewater collected in these areas would flow by gravity to a new pump station located on or near Main Street in proximity to the stream. 

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