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Sun., Aug. 31
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Norfolk water project to begin soon

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NORFOLK - Construction will begin by next week on the town’s long-discussed $2.55 million water project, according to Supervisor Charles A. Pernice.

The town is embarking on the project to meet state regulations for water quality. It will replace old wells infiltrated with groundwater and the aging Raymondville water tank and will “loop” dead-end lines along Hepburn, Sober, Crabb and Hutchins streets.

Once started, most of the project will be completed in 150 days, Mr. Pernice said. He expected the well house on Sober Street to be constructed during the fall, with interior work on the building to be completed during winter. J.E. Sheehan Contracting Corp. is completing the “bulk of the work.”

Mr. Pernice said work on the project preceded his election to the board in 2009. The state Department of Health had cited Norfolk for water quality issues in 2008, and the project had since encountered numerous delays at state and federal levels.

“It’s encouraging to be there, but it’s discouraging to have it take that long,” he said.

“We had a lot of hoops to jump through ... Any time one agency was slow reviewing something it added to schedule,” he said. “Then if we had to make changes to anything the process began all over; everyone had to approve everything again.”

Another infrastructure project, a $5.5 million sewer system upgrade, is still in the design phase, Mr. Pernice said.

Norfolk is undertaking the sewer project because flows through its wastewater treatment plant have far exceeded permitted limits - and the plant’s capacity - for decades.

A consent order by the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation requires that the town address its sewer problems, either by drastically reducing flows, constructing a new, higher-capacity wastewater treatment plant or some combination of the two by 2014.

Norfolk will also build a new wastewater treatment facility to replace the existing 38-year-old plant and repair the numerous cracks and holes in the pipe system.

The town has received an interest-free $3.5 million loan to pay for the sewer project from the State Environmental Facilities Corporation. The town will pay that loan back over the next 30 years, Mr. Pernice previously said.

The water improvements are entirely funded through the water user fees. The remaining $2 million in sewer project costs is covered from federal funding the town has received.

The town council approved a $40 per year increase for water and sewer rates in 2011, and an additional $80 increase per year in 2012 to pay for the projects. Residential property owners pay $256 in annual water fees and $292 for sewer, while most commercial property owners pay $236 for water and $272 for sewer.

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