CHAMPLAIN — The villages of Champlain and Rouses Point and the Town of Champlain is seeking funds for a joint water-and-sewer system.
The public-water component has an estimated cost of $13.95 million, while the sewer project has a price of about $4.7 million.
Village of Champlain Mayor Gregory Martin said the infrastructure is an important piece of future economic development in the town and its two villages.
“It’s been great to see the three municipalities work together on something,” he said.
In the Village of Champlain, a new 75-foot-tall water tower would be built near the top of Prospect Street. That would increase
water pressure throughout the Village of Champlain and for the approximately 60 town customers it serves.
Some residents on Prospect Street presently have to use booster pumps to meet Clinton County Health Department pressure requirements. The village waives its service fee if they use the device, but the water customers need to pay for pump maintenance.
With the new system, those in the low-lying parts of the village would probably require pressure reducers. The new lines would also increase pressure in the town’s water districts served by the village.
The plan also calls for water and sewer service and a second water tower near the East Service and West Service roads in the Town of Champlain. The businesses in that area have requested the infrastructure for a long time, Martin said.
That would provide increased pressure for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Port of Entry on Interstate 87. Presently, the third floor of the facility loses pressure when the village flushes hydrants, Martin said, which is an issue because much of the equipment at the facility is water cooled.
The project would also bring water service to Route 11 between Champlain and Rouses Point. Champlain Town Supervisor Larry Barcomb said that is another key for economic development.
Town of Champlain Codes Enforcement Office Michael Tetreault said development includes upcoming projects such as the new Border Patrol station planned for Route 11 and expansion of the North Country Medical Center, soon to be part of the Hudson Headwaters Healthcare network.
Northeastern Clinton Central School would receive increased water pressure, which would allow it to decommission the booster pumps required to maintain a safe water pressure.
An interconnected, looped system would also provide better water pressure in emergencies, such as fires, which can be important in obtaining insurance coverage, Tetreault said.
Rouses Point Mayor Francis Baker said the project includes a new water plant for his village. The present facility was built in 1968 and requires a lot of maintenance to ensure it operates properly, he said.
It would also seek to switch to groundwater as a source instead of Lake Champlain. That would require less treatment and manpower.
With the planned closure of the Pfizer facility in Rouses Point, Baker said, the village needs to find some new users for its excess capacity.
A water line would go from Rouses Point along Route 11 to the Route 276 intersection, where it would connect with an extension of the Village of Champlain line that serves NCCS.
A sewer line would run along Route 11 so the village and town of Champlain could send sewage to Rouses Point for treatment, Baker said.
Barcomb said Project Engineer Matthew Cooper of Bernier, Carr and Associates in Watertown sent him an email confirming that a Consolidated Funding Application was submitted to Empire State Development by the July 16 deadline. They are now working on an application for priority status with the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, which is due by July 27.
Other potential funding sources include the New York State Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, USDA Rural Development Rural Utilities, USDA Rural Development Rural Business Enterprise and Local Government Efficiency Grants.
“Between shared services and cleaner water, it seems we should get some money somewhere,” Baker said.
The project would prompt the three municipalities to form a water board, with representatives from each.
The engineering improvements in the new system and shared services could lead to a savings of more than $300,000 a year, according to a project fact sheet.
“This is a win-win project. Once it is in place, it is definitely something the town and two villages will benefit from,” Martin said.
The three municipalities have commissioned a number of studies over the years, but Barcomb said this is the most hopeful he’s been about it in his seven years in office.
“If this one doesn’t fly, we’ll be many years without water and sewer in these areas,” he said.
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