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Watkins village board hears sewer update from engineering firm

WATKINS GLEN––The Watkins Glen village board received an update on the wastewater inflow and infiltration study from engineering firm Barton & Loguidice and passed a resolution authorizing Mayor Mark Swinnerton to execute a grant agreement to help fund the second phase of that project. The village is eligible to receive up to $30,000 from the New York Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund.  The grant funds require a 20 percent local match with a percentage of the work to be completed by a minority or woman owned business and will be applied towards completion of a Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Survey.
Ken Knutsun of Barton & Loguidice explained, because of the peak flow during precipitation events he believed much of the wastewater problem was caused by inflow rather than infiltration. Inflow can occur through manhole covers, sump pumps, roof tie ins, and catch basins.   He said they had identified areas where they believe a significant portion of the inflow is occurring.    The grant money will be applied towards the infiltration portion of the study and to get into the pipes that were isolated through the first phase.  He added that inflow problems are much easier to remedy than infiltration.  “It is real positive to know that it is inflow,”said Mayor Swinnerton.
Trustee Paul Clifford pointed out that even if the village is fortunate enough to build a new wastewater plant, all of this work will not be negated.  “You do not want to have to treat water that doesn’t need to be treated,” said Bart Crary, superintendent of the wastewater treatment plant. Knutsun added that the more unnecessary treatment you do the more energy you use pumping and the more chlorine you go through.  He said that this additional grant money will take the village all the way through August.  
“Once we have identified the issue now we have to fix it, which will be the expensive portion of this,” said Swinnerton.  He said he had approached Montour Falls which is also experiencing an inflow problem in the hopes that the two municipalities could apply for a government efficiency grant to help fund a portion of the project.  The village is under a Department of Environmental Conservation consent order to remedy the wastewater plant issues.  
In other business:
• Minard LaFever of the electric department and clerk Donna Beardsley reported that the Independent Energy Efficiency Program which the village is participating in is ready to produce its first result. The village is considering providing two energy efficient light bulbs per electric meter which would be available for pick up at the village offices.  LaFever also alerted the board to an opportunity to purchase LED bulbs for streetlights which would drastically reduce the amount of energy they consume.  “This is something we should be aggressive about as a community, changing these bulbs out,” said Swinnerton.  The board voted to replace old bulbs with LED bulbs as they burn out, with the possibility to look into accelerating that process.
The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. in the municipal building.





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