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Fulton County to tap the Sacandaga?

Thursday, May 15, 2014 - Updated: 10:25 AM


Fulton County's SMART Water initiative may eventually tap the Great Sacandaga Lake as a source of municipal water.

Although in its infancy, Fulton County Administrator Jon Stead said SMART Water looks at utilizing a provision in the state Environmental Conservation Law that authorizes the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District to sell lake water to the county.

"The original legislation that established the lake and was involved in its creation did have a provision in it that reserved the right for Fulton County to draw water from it if it needed to," Stead said. "That is subject to negotiation, but was made so there was no prohibition to that."

Lake district Executive Director Michael Clark said he met with the county's planning department and the project's engineering firm earlier this year to discuss using a portion of the lake's capacity as a water source.

Although they have not discussed the idea since, Clark said supplying the county with water from the lake is a viable option.

"It sounds like something silly to say, but there is a lot of water," Clark said. "The amount of water they may want to use on any given day is not even a drop in the bucket."

Like Stead, Clark noted the county would need the board's approval first. If they came to an agreement, he said a contract would be drawn up over the sale of the lake's water.

Clark said the district would have to approve the intake location, the quantity and price per volume, if the project comes to fruition.

"The specific things that relate to where the county wants to draw water from," Clark said.

The Great Sacandaga Lake is one of the largest manmade reservoirs in New York state. It was created in the 1920s and flooded in the 1930s.

Currently, the lake supplies the village of Northville enough water to fulfill the needs of its residents, Clark said.

He said selling raw water to the county would not become a huge issue in terms of volume.

"It is feasible from our end," Clark said. "I don't know if it is feasible from their end because many things would affect many decisions ... like where their treatment would be and how they intend to treat the water."

Stead said purchasing raw water from the lake is an option, but has not been reviewed in great detail yet.

He said the next step is for the engineering firm, Environmental Design Partnership, to conduct a SMART Growth Infrastructure Plan. The plan would identify areas within the county in need of water and sewer services.

Depending on where the firm identifies these areas, the county can then look into how to treat the water.

Stead said two options were cited in the engineer's report for the Sacandaga.

The county could either utilize the city of Gloversville's existing water treatment facility, or build a new one.

"There are several different options when you talk about the Sacandaga Lake," Stead said. "Where it comes from, how to treat it ,or where would be a second decision or step."

The Single-Model Adaptable Regional Transmission Water System, or SMART Water, was initiated in May last year, when the board of supervisors pursued Jump-Start Fulton County.

The board hired Environmental Design Partnership to research the feasibility of a regional water and wastewater system and to conduct an engineered findings report.

On Monday, the county's board of supervisors adopted a resolution to endorse the start of the project.

The plan looks at utilizing existing municipal water systems in the cities of Gloversville and Johnstown, villages of Broadalbin and Mayfield, and the town of Northampton to create one large regional system.

Additionally, the developers are looking at purchasing raw water from the city of Amsterdam and the Sacandaga Lake.

The next step is to set up meetings with the municipalities who have the water and wastewater systems and engage in discussions with them.

"We will be talking to key players who already have established systems and that is Gloversville, Johnstown and the city of Amsterdam," Stead said. "All other municipalities are tentative too."


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