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Amsterdam among areas getting sewage improvement funding

December 10, 2016 06:32 PM

AMSTERDAM -- It took weeks before construction crews fixed a sewage leak in Amsterdam over the summer, and not before it dumped millions of gallons of waste into the Mohawk River. They had to replace old clay pipes.

“We saw one leak over the summer,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara. “That was repaired. And shortly after that we saw an additional leak at an additional location further upstream.”

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Santabarbara says aging infrastructure is causing a lot of headaches in many upstate municipalities. Amsterdam received $5 million in grants towards upgrading its infrastructure.

Now, the city is getting an additional $45,000 in a new round of grants for more upgrades. Santabarbara, also a civil engineer, says sewer and storm water flow through the same pipes in many older cities like Amsterdam. When that builds up, particularly in the spring when snow melts, the system can get overwhelmed.

“That capacity, the sewage treatment plant cannot handle it,” he said. “So it ends up overflowing, bypassing the treatment facility and spilling out into the water way.”

The new grant will allow Amsterdam to install monitoring equipment and improve the reporting of problem areas.

“That's why this grant is so important -- to be able to install 21st century technology to make the best decisions and make the best investments possible,” he said.

Investments that include replacing parts of the system that may be weak, or upgrading the treatment facility to take on more water.

“The other option is storage tanks,” Santabarbara said. “You could try and build storage tanks to hold that water so that it does come all at once. During low periods when it's a dry season, you don't get that much.”

The city of Albany and the village of Catskill were also among the 10 municipalities that received the combined sewer overflow grant.

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WNYT Staff

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