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.
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 issues are daunting,” Wayne Taylor, Ti trustee, said of the town’s water system problems. “We want to do what’s best for our town now and in the future. We feel this is the right move.”
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.
Water customers will receive confidential surveys in the mail this week. Officials are asking that those surveys be completed and returned by Oct. 31. The information obtained will be used to seek grant money for the water project.
The surveys are crucial if Ticonderoga is to qualify for grant funding, 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,” said Sue Huestis, Ti water and sewer clerk. “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.
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 fall. Once test wells are complete, final plans will be designed to take advantage of the best water source.
“The key is finding groundwater,” Taylor said. “Other towns have had good success with groundwater — Saranac Lake, Malone. The engineers are confident we’ll find an adequate groundwater supply.”
Assuming water is found, the project will begin in the spring and be completed in July 2015.
Taylor stressed the new project will address Ticonderoga’s water needs for years to come.
“We’ll try to be as comprehensive as possible and deal with a multitude of issues,” Taylor said. “For years the town of has kinda kicked the can down the road. Well, there’s no more kicking the can.”
Supervisor Deb Malaney agrees the town needs to address its water issues.
“This is the most viable option,” she said. “We’ve been struggling with our water system for years. The Department of Health order is probably a good thing; it’s made us face the problem.”
Tyler and Malaney said there will be a series of public information meetings and hearings as the project progresses. Information on the project is also available on the town website at townofticonderoga.com