Sewage upgrades underway in Amsterdam

August 28, 2017 06:06 PM

AMSTERDAM - Boaters know all too well the signs of sewage.

"You can smell and see it wash up on shore and you certainly don't want that," explained Terry Hoy, who was boating in the Mohawk River on Monday.

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And a slow but constant stream has been flowing into the Mohawk since July 2016.  Crews in Amsterdam just finished replacing the old, damaged sewer lines with new, plastic piping.  E. coli measurements, depending on the weather and use, have already decreased by about 20-percent but it will likely be months before the work can be declared a success.

"It's gone down quite a bit but we've got to continue to take samples because it takes a while to flush out," said Amsterdam City Engineer Rick Miller.

A separate but similar problem, north of the river but also in Amsterdam, is also in its way to being remedied.  Replacing the old sewer lines on Pershing Street may seem inconvenient for the neighborhood but it's better than what homeowners have been dealing with for a decade.

"For the first time in ten years, we don't have to worry every time there's a rain that we will have raw sewage covering every inch of my basement," said Laurie Ilagan.

Amsterdam's infrastructure upgrades aren't easy or cheap.  They are, however, necessary for the health of the river and the safety of the City's residents.

"The system here is so old.  {It's all) clay pipes (and) most are cracked.  It wasn't designed for sanitary sewer," adds Miller.

New York State provided Amsterdam $6-million for the aging infrastructure upgrades.


Abigail Bleck

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