CROWNPOINT - It will cost Crown Point $2.8 million to fix its municipal water system.
The town system has low pressure, is leaking, lacks working meters and has a host of other problems, according to a report presented to the town board by the New York Rural Water Association.
Jack Dodson, engineer with Dodson & Associates, said weak pressure in the system is a major concern.
"There are old mains in the hamlet area and they're small," Dodson told the town board at its February meeting. "Small mains don't produce any pressure."
He said pressure is 50 to 60 psi in the old mains.
"It needs to be upgraded," Dodson said.
He estimated it would cost $2.8 million to repair the system.
Dodson said some of the problems could be fixed using town employees, but he noted the water department has a small staff which limits its ability to tackle major projects.
Liz Tedford, of New York Rural Water Association, also said there are problems with the town water treatment plant, which draws water from two wells at the Crown Point fish hatchery.
Todd Hodson of AES Engineering said there are telemetry issues.
"The computer at the hatchery was polling the tank site for information, but the tank was not responding," he explained. "They did have an instance where the tank had overflowed."
A temporary fix was applied, he said. But there is no surge suppression on the system.
"It's kind of like a lightning rod up there," Hodson said. "It's going to get struck and taken out."
It's a proprietary system and the town needs an open system, he said, so it can be repaired locally.
"It was going to cost $70,000 to replace that communications system," Hodson said. "We recommended the town go to a radio system."
That would replace a dedicated phone line used now that has technical problems.
Crown Point's system is also leaking. Normally a system loses about 30 percent of its water, Tedford said.
"The estimate for Crown Point was 50 percent," she said. "When you have meters that don't work you don't know how much water you're using."
Tedford said she estimates about 296,000 gallons a quarter are lost from one leaking hydrant in the town.
"That's a somewhat significant leak," she said. "At your charge for water, it would be about $3,300.
"There are a number of leaks the town already knows about," she added. "One pipe leaked for a week; you lost 700,000 gallons of water. You're losing roughly 50,000 gallons a day, which comes to 18 million gallons per year. That's kind of crazy."
Tedford also addressed Crown Point's water meters.
A survey by town workers showed 165 water meters were either missing, didn't have outside readers or were broken, she said.
"Everybody who's got water is supposed to have a working meter," Tedford said. "Crown Point has not been following its own ordinance."
She recommended setting up a program to repair or install meters where needed.
All agreed funding is needed to make the repairs.
Tedford said the town has applied to Rural Development for a grant and could apply to Environmental Facilities Corp. also.
"They might have money for a project like this," she said. "That's hopeful."
The weak water pressure may also help the town find funding, she noted. Water pressure less than 20 psi is a violation of state standards, Tedford said.
"One of my recommendations is that the town water department work in conjunction with the fire department to conduct an assessment during fire flow events to see exactly what happens," Tedford said. "The state health department would have serious concerns about that and would want you to correct it."