Another line break dumps sewage into creek

Friday, October 21, 2016 - Updated: 10:56 AM


Recorder News Staff

Amsterdam is tackling another sewer line break, which is leaking sewage into the North Chuctanunda Creek. The apparent sewer line break is believed to be close to where a new line was recently installed along Forest Avenue.

An estimated 10 gallons per minute of untreated sewage is reported to be leaking into North Chuctanunda Creek, which empties into the Mohawk River, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation's website. The leak was reportedly discovered around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. The location of the discharge is reportedly where raw sewage had entered the creek this past summer.

Mayor Michael Villa said the leak is believed to be occurring above where repairs were made to the sewer line and manholes along Forest Avenue. Villa said the exact location of the leak has yet to be determined and the rainfall Thursday had complicated the investigation.

"We'll do whatever is necessary to remedy it," Villa said.

"Hopefully we can do it ourselves, but if not we'll have to go out again" to hire a contractor.

An investigation was being conducted on "upstream manhole structures and collections piping to determine exact location of discharge," according to a notification issued Thursday.

City Engineer Richard Miller could not be reached for comment.

Villa said the estimated rate of discharge is for leak at 10 gallons per minute is much lower than leak this past summer, which was estimated to be 50 gallons per minute.

The potential impact of the leakage on public areas is reported to be unknown, but Villa said drinking water for municipalities downstream does not appear to be affected to date. The heavier discharge this past summer was not reported to have affected drinking water.

The leakage this past summer was estimated to have spilled more than 500,000 gallons of untreated sewage into the creek. A few weeks before that sewer line breakage, Amsterdam's Westside Wastewater Treatment Pump Station spilled more than a half-million gallons of partially treated sewage into the Mohawk River due to equipment malfunctioning.

Around the middle of August, Miller had said construction crews completed installed more than 500 feet of new sewer line, replaced two manholes and added a new manhole along Forest Avenue.

Miller had said the sewer line break was effectively bypassed on July 30, however, the groundwater was still contaminated where the leak occurred into August. He had estimated the ground would take some time to flush out because the breakage appeared to have been there for "quite a while."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo had announced on Aug. 5 that Amsterdam would receive $5 million to improve its aging water infrastructure, with some of the funds going towards the sewer line replacement on Forest Avenue. The assistance includes a $1.25 million grant from the state Water Infrastructure Improvement Act and a zero interest loan totaling $3.75 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

Amsterdam had applied for the financial assistance prior to the last sewer line break, but the funding approval was expedited to provide relief to the city.