An excavator rests Thursday above unearthed ground on Smith Avenue in Amsterdam after crews concluded work for the day. The city is installing new sewer lines on Smith Avenue and three other streets. Photo John Purcell/Recorder
By JOHN PURCELL
Recorder News Staff
Amsterdam officials hope sewer infrastructure improvements underway will stop the sewage discharge into North Chuctanunda Creek, which the city has battled for a little more than a year.
City Engineer Richard Miller said Thursday afternoon crews have been working for about three weeks to replace sewer lines and manholes across four streets, which includes Sloane, Clarke, Smith and Cochrane avenues. Miller said there have been no service interruptions during the sewer replacement project, which he expected to be completed next week. Crews worked Thursday on Smith Avenue.
Miller said the latest sewer replacement project is hoped to end the sewage discharge into North Chuctanunda Creek, which empties into the Mohawk River.
Mayor Michael Villa was optimistic the latest project would finally end the sewage discharge.
“We’re confident that replacing this should take of that issue,” Villa said Wednesday afternoon.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation has continued monitoring bacteria levels reported through test results and will inform Amsterdam when testing is no longer required.
Villa said the rate of sewage discharging into North Chuctanunda Creek is much lower than initial levels observed.
Near the end of July 2016, city officials became aware of wastewater entering the creek through an adjacent groundwater seep near Forest Avenue. Approximately 50 gallons per minute of untreated sewage leaked into the creek until a bypass was installed.
In August 2016, construction crews installed more than 500 feet of new sewer line, replaced two manholes and added a new manhole along Forest Avenue to address the issue. The Forest Avenue repairs reduced the rate of discharge, but did not solve the problem.
In November, Miller informed aldermen and the mayor that sewage passing through sewer infrastructure at the manhole at Sloane and Smith avenues never made it to the downstream manhole at Sloane and Clark avenues.
Amsterdam had replaced a portion of sewer line underneath Sloane Avenue after damage was discovered, but sewage continued discharging into the creek.
Miller had said city officials hoped the discharge would clear itself out eventually, but the flow continued at a reduced rate
Amsterdam has continued reporting through NY-Alert that there is an estimated 10 gallons per minute of untreated sewage spilling into the creek. The city has issued an alert nearly every weekday on the leak since Oct. 19, which has generally included the same discharge rate estimate in each alert.
The city has continued drawing from the $5 million funding package the state awarded in 2016 for the latest sewer replacement project across the four streets, according to Miller. 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.