CROWN POINT - Crown Point has serious problems with its water district.
The district, which serves about 400 homes, is in debt, fails to meet state law and suffers from broken or missing equipment.
Those water woes will be discussed at the Feb. 10 town board meeting with Liz Tedford of the New York Rural Water Association. Supervisor Bethany Kosmider said the water district, which is required by state law to be self-supporting, is more than $45,000 in debt.
That debt, she explained, is because the town doesn't know how much to charge users. More than half the town's water customers have no meters or have broken meters, she said, so bills are merely estimates - estimates that have fallen short.
"The state comptroller is coming to do an audit," Kosmider said. "They're going to be asking questions and we need to find answers."
There are other water users who are not billed at all, she said. The town hall, the town highway garage, the fire department and other buildings get town water but don't pay for it.
"Residents are subsidizing these buildings," Kosmider said. "That's not right. We're all supposed to pay our fair share."
Tedford and Steve Grimm of the New York Rural Water Association have been evaluating the Crown Point water and wastewater systems. Tedford will present their findings at the Feb. 10 meeting.
"The report to be presented to the town board will address numerous issues that have been identified in this process," Tedford said.
She said the water system has issues with pressure, water meters, fire hydrants, a water main installed in 1890 that is still in use and water quality.
Kosmider said the main distribution line has less than 20 pounds of pressure and the town has 13 broken or missing fire hydrants.
"Issues with the wastewater treatment plant and collection system have also been identified," Tedford said. "Compliance with DEC (state Department of Environmental Conservation) and DOH (state Department of Health) regulations and potential enforcement action regarding specific conditions will be reviewed.
"The town's water and wastewater ordinances will be discussed, as well as items of concern regarding the town's billing and accounting practices in regard to water and wastewater services," Tedford said.
The New York Rural Water Association is a not-for-profit organization organized in 1979 with the goal of promoting the development, improvement and sound operation of rural drinking water and wastewater systems throughout New York State. It provides service free of charge.
"Our staff will continue to provide any assistance possible, at no charge to the town," Tedford said, "but the town is responsible for making the decisions to rectify their problems.
"The first step was to identify the problems and make the town aware of the issues that need to be addressed," she added. "Hopefully raising awareness will bring results for Crown Point."