Ticonderoga residents may soon hear a knock at their door, but it won’t be a holiday caroler. Town officials are beginning a door-to-door canvas of the community’s water districts seeking the return of income surveys that may hold the key to grant funding for a comprehensive drinking water project.
Ticonderoga residents may soon hear a knock at their door, but it won’t be a holiday caroler.
Town officials are beginning a door-to-door canvas of the community’s water districts seeking the return of income surveys that may hold the key to grant funding for a comprehensive drinking water project.
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.
To date about 50 percent of the surveys have been returned. To be eligible for the grant funding, 65 percent of the surveys must be completed.
“I know some people don’t like providing this information,” Supervisor Deb Malaney said, “but it’s entirely confidential. The surveys are numbered, there are no names, and they go directly to the IDA (Essex County Industrial Development Agency) in Elizabethtown. No one here will see them.”
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.”
Sue Huestis, Ti water and sewer clerk, said people can still return the survey. If they have misplaced the survey or if they have questions, people can call Huestis at 585-6265 ext. 10.
“We’ll be knocking on doors,” Malaney said of efforts to get survey responses. “It’s all about getting good, quality drinking water for the community. It makes a lot more sense to try and qualify for a grant than it does to add the cost to the taxpayers’ backs.”
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 to 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 month. 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