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Alex Bay hoping to lift 2007 DEC moratorium with $1.84m sewer project

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ALEXANDRIA BAY — For the past five years, new development in this riverfront village has been curbed because of the aging sewer system, which has been causing overflow during storms and snowmelts.

The village Board of Trustees has taken some corrective action and has been building up “credits” — a state system that allows additional sewer connections as long as three times the volume of the new sewage is offset by removing storm water — to allow at least a few houses to be built as a short-term fix.

But the village board hopes once and for all to lift the 2007 state Department of Environmental Conservation consent order that restricts new connections in Alexandria Bay.

The plan is to undertake a $1.84 million project to build a new sanitary collection system along Catherine Avenue, the main problem area.

The clay tile piping under the street, which is more than 100 years old, must be replaced with new, larger pipes to minimize infiltration and reduce overflow at the sewage treatment plant in order for the DEC moratorium to be lifted.

Project engineer Gregor K. Smith, of Bernier, Carr & Associates, Watertown, said the village, which has been planning the project since 2009, could get funding from the state Environmental Facilities Corp. as soon as this summer for the construction work, which will take about six months.

Village officials are not sure how much in grants and low-interest loans they will be able to secure, he said.

Whatever cost is not covered by grants will be paid back by village sewer users over the next couple of decades by gradually rising rates.

Mr. Smith said Alexandria Bay also is submitting a separate application for an 80:20 matching EFC Clean Water State Revolving Fund grant to evaluate the village’s entire wastewater system.

If awarded, this $30,000 grant will allow the village to further identify leaks in the system and set priorities for its improvement projects.

Alexandria Bay, of course, is not the only St. Lawrence River community with sewer issues.

The nearby village of Clayton plans to break ground this fall on a $4.3 million project to update its 100-year-old sewer system, which has been neglected for decades.

Clayton’s project is funded through a $470,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development office and a $3.7 million no-interest loan from the EFC.

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