The village is working on solutions to what ails its aging water system.
Mayor Peter Telisky said the village is preparing to replace several hundred feet of water line along the east side of Route 22 north of the village.
The line runs from South Bay to the Washington County highway garage and is an area that has been identified by village officials as in most need of repair.
“It’s an antiquated line and we’ve had problems on the intake coming in,” Telisky said.
The village has identified and repaired two leaks in the line already, and the condition of the pipe makes it likely that other leaks may develop if they don’t already exist.
Telisky said the pipe’s location in a ravine has made it difficult to identify all of the problems.
The project is expected to begin later this spring and will be an extension of a pipe replacement project on the northern side of South Bay.
Crews have already replaced approximately 7,000 feet of pipe along Route 4 in the village and along Route 22 north of South Bay.
The latest project is expected to tie into some of that work.
Telisky said a portion of the project will be paid for by money the village saved by redirecting funds earmarked for mandated drying beds at the water treatment facility.
Instead of purchasing the drying beds, the board of trustees authorized the purchase of a commercial pump truck which fulfills the mandate and allows the village to transport sludge from the water treatment plant to a dewatering and drying facility that the village owns at the waste water treatment center.
It’s estimated that by purchasing the truck and foregoing the construction of drying beds the village saved $500,000, officials said.
“We are going to use that money to make improvement in the village water system,” Telisky said.
The village is trying to identify areas where pipe is in its poorest condition and will fix those areas first.
Officials are also looking at the possibility of creating loops where pipes currently dead-end.
The village is forced to maintain several bleed points throughout its system where pipes dead-end to avoid the build up of sediments.
Bleeding the pipes results in the loss of some water and creating loops would eliminate the need to bleed pipes and decrease the amount of water loss.
Telisky said the village is also hoping to explore a project to address the degradation of pipes that serve the elementary and high schools.
Those pipes are more than 40 years old and leaks periodically cause school to be canceled.
That project, however, has some fairly substantial entanglements.
“The problem is those pipes are outside of the village and therefore we can’t use village funds,” Telisky said.
He said he may get together with James Watson, superintendent of the Whitehall School district, and George Armstrong, town supervisor, to see if there may be funding that can be acquired to fix the problem.
If not, it’s possible the village would consider establishing water districts that provide greater flexibility to finance repairs.
The village’s water and sewer funds were recently the subject of an audit performed by the state comptroller’s office.
Auditors found that water and sewer rates were unable to cover operating expenses and that the village couldn’t account for more than half of the water it processes.
Part of the problem is due to the age and condition of the system, parts of which are nearly a century old.
Officials hopes to replace parts of the system but a complete overhaul isn’t feasible due to the expense of such a project and the village’s overall financial condition.