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Speculator, NY ,

Rains stress sewage plant

Sunday, January 19, 2014 - Updated: 11:38 PM



SPECULATOR -- Chief Operator Florence Braunius says the Jan. 11 rain underscored her concerns about the broken clarifier and the hole in the steel wall of Unit 1 between the digester and the chlorine contact tank at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The hole means the tank cannot be used at full capacity, which could result in treated particles or suspended solids being discharged into the river, which would violate the village's State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit.

"The rain Saturday really showed up how things operate in the outside plant with the broken clarifier," she told the Village of Speculator Board of Trustees Monday, Jan. 13. "It is what we can expect during the summer when there is the greatest load."

The last estimate for engineering and repair, obtained two years ago, she said, was $52,000, which included repairing the clarifier and sandblasting and recoating the steel wall. "If we patch this hole it's only a matter of time before we have another," she said.

Mayor Letty Rudes replied, "There is no money in the reserve fund; maybe they can do a bond anticipation note."

Braunius said she would check with Lamont Engineers, Cobleskill, about that.

The village applied to the North Country Regional Economic Development Council for a planning grant, which would have allowed it to hire an engineering firm to develop a Preliminary Report, but was refused. A Preliminary Report is required when seeking funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation for water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

With no funding coming from the RED-C, Braunius said she called the EFC, which recommended she call the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

"DEC told me priority projects are those where there is definite water quality impairment from WWTP discharge, such as algae blooms. I told him I can't let our WWTP get to that point; the resort across the street has 1,000 people a week, many of whom kayak the river. They would all be lined up at my door."

She then turned to Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Farber, who set up a meeting with the EFC for Jan. 30.

Braunius noted the median household income for the village is now $55,000 a year, which could make it difficult to get any grant money.


-- The WWTP's 2003 New Holland tractor has been down for repairs since before Christmas with problems in the front end. Superintendent of Highways Roger Blanchard ordered parts and is working on it.

-- Lee Page's probationary period at the Highway Department has ended. A note from Blanchard to the board says, "Lee has been a great asset to the village; he is good with the equipment and helps out mechanically as well. He can run everything." The board approved making him full-time permanent.

-- The board approved Sean O'Brien's application to join the fire department. Trustee Edward Brooks said, "He's already chief where he comes from, so he can step right in. Plus he's young. Our fire department is aging rapidly."

The Board of Trustees will next meet Monday, Jan. 27, starting at 7 p.m. at Village Hall.


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