Money available to replace sewer lines

F inancial assistance may be available for village residents who can’t afford the cost of having a sewer line replaced.

The village still has money available from a $400,000 grant awarded by the

Office of Community Development to assist residents in replacing sewer laterals.

Scott LaMountain, a project manager with Shelter Planning and Development, a Queensbury-based firm that assists in the implementation and planning of community development strategies and projects, said that 13 homes have received laterals and the village is looking to do 23 to 25 more.

A sewer lateral is the pipe that connects a home or building with the sewer main. It uses gravity to carry waste to the sewer system and ultimately to the wastewater treatment facility.

The program is open to people with low to moderate incomes.

“We’re appealing to residents to please contact the village. This is completely free. If you have an antiquated line this will help,” said Mayor Peter Telisky.

Whitehall applied for the grant because officials believe that old and damaged clay laterals contribute to what ails the community’s sewer system.

The state has mandated that Whitehall make significant improvements to its sewer system, but the cost of the project, which has been estimated to be upwards of $24 million, is far greater than the village’s resources.

“Through engineering studies, it’s been determined that some of the issues are related to deteriorating sewer laterals, that are allowing other things to infiltrate the pipe and get into the wastewater treatment facility,” said LaMountain.

The result is an increase of water at the treatment facility, which in turn causes overflows. Telisky said the problem is particularly bad during heavy rains. He said part of the problem is that at one time the storm water and sewer system were one system and they are still connected in places.

While replacing the laterals won’t completely fix problems of overflow, Telisky said it would go a long ways in limiting the amount of excess water that enters the system.

“This is part of the big picture,” he said.

The project will also address other factors that are contributing to problems with the sewer system.

“The program is not just sewer laterals. It also addresses issues of water getting into the sewer system,” LaMountain said.

For instance, if homeowners have a sump pump in their basement which empties into the sewer system, the contractors who are replacing the lines will attempt to develop solutions that would result in water being pumped elsewhere.

LaMountain said they will visit successful applicants and explain what the process entails and what is required of them.

During the project, crews dig a trench and replace the old lateral with a new one. The ground that was disturbed is then graded and seeded. “We leave it (lawn) as we found it,” LaMountain said.

The work typically takes two days to complete, but can vary on the job.

In order to apply, residents need to fill out a two- to three-page form and include documentation of their income.

Applications can be picked up at the village office and questions referred to Carol Greenough at 499-1155.

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