Ticonderoga officials are pleading with residents to return surveys mailed to them two weeks ago.
The confidential income surveys were sent to water customers in October. The information is needed to seek grant money for a $13.8 million water project.
“The response thus far has been fair to good, but a long way from the 65 percent response we need,” said Sue Huestis, Ti water and sewer clerk.
The surveys are crucial if Ticonderoga is to qualify for grant funding, trustee Wayne Taylor said.
“We’re pleading with people to please participate,” Taylor said. “This is very important.”
“If we don’t get responses by mail, representatives of the town will be knocking on doors,” Huestis said. “We have to get this information.”
Taylor said Ticonderoga is likely to get at least a $2 million grant to start the project, if the surveys are completed.
Facing a state mandate, the town of Ticonderoga is about to begin a comprehensive water system upgrade.
Town officials hope to replace the existing water system, which draws water from Lake George and Gooseneck Pond, with a series of wells.
The proposed groundwater project is estimated to cost up to $13.8 million.
That’s actually a bargain. The state Department of Health has ordered Ticonderoga to either replace Gooseneck or cover it. Covering the reservoir carries an estimated cost of $31 million. The state has also ordered repairs to the Lake George water system that could cost another $12-24 million.
Ticonderoga has been declared a hardship case by the state, which makes it eligible for a no-interest loan to cover the project. That’s good news, but local officials are hoping for a better deal with the help of residents.
In 2009 the state Department of Health ordered Ti to replace or cover the Gooseneck reservoir, which was created in 1931. The town developed a plan to replace the reservoir with tanks, but a recent inspection discovered problems with the Gooseneck dam and with transmission lines, Taylor explained.
Gooseneck was designed to serve the entire town, but over time demand exceeded Gooseneck’s capacity. In 1965 a Lake George water supply was developed for emergency use. Eventually Lake George water became necessary to meet daily demand.
During the most recent inspection the state also found problems at the Baldwin Road filtration plant that handles Lake George water.
At the urging of state officials, Ticonderoga then began considering an upgrade of the entire water system, utilizing groundwater sources. Preliminary engineering studies have identified five possible aquifers in Ticonderoga that could be water sources, Taylor noted.
At its October meeting the town board authorized bonding up to $2.7 million to search for groundwater. It’s hoped $2 million of that will come as a state grant.
Facing a state order to have a new water plan in place by Dec. 31, the town plans to begin test well drilling this fall. Once test wells are complete, final plans will be designed to take advantage of the best water source.
Assuming water is found, the project will begin in the spring and be completed in July 2015.
Information on the project is available on the town website at townofticonderoga.com