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Water leakage in some Canton downtown basements

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CANTON — The state’s Route 11 reconstruction project has apparently resulted in water leaks in the basements of some Main Street buildings, forcing owners to install sump pumps.

Basements that have water problems include Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, 53 Main St., and Rushton Place, 1 Main St., which houses Northern New York Newspapers Inc. and Gray & Gray Certified Public Accountants.

Groundwater is apparently seeping into basements from an unmarked, previously abandoned sewer line, said Michael R. Flick, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

“When old systems are removed from service, ground water will seek a new relief point which can be a previously abandoned unknown line, a crack in a wall or through an opening in a laid-up stone foundation,” Mr. Flick said in an email.

This summer, crews from the state DOT and Luck Bros. Inc., Plattsburgh, removed and replaced the old water and sewer lines under Main Street. The process involved extensive drilling near downtown buildings with old foundations.

TAUNY Executive Director Jill R. Breit said about 2,000 gallons of water per day is being pumped from the center’s basement and installing the sump pump cost the agency about $2,000.

“We have a little brook running over our basement now,” Ms. Breit said, noting that prior to the reconstruction work the basement had always been “bone dry.”

She said the DOT and Canton village officials were very helpful in determining the leak was coming from a pipe that was deeper than the other pipes DOT had worked on this summer.

She said it’s her understanding that the DOT crews plan to plug the pipe as a temporary measure.

Fortunately, the leak was not on the side of the basement where TAUNY’s archival records are stored, Ms. Breit said.

Thomas A. Maroun Jr., the DOT project engineer, said the water that leaked in Main Street basements tested negative for both chlorine and sewage, which shows that the leak is not coming from the new piping system.

The new system handles village water which contains chlorine so the seepage is apparently groundwater.

“It seems that the ground water that was entering the old clay pipes has nowhere to go now that it can’t get into the new sewer and drainage system so the water is finding the easiest path,” Mr. Maroun said.

The owners of the TAUNY building and Rushton Place paid to have sump pumps installed in their basements after the leaks were investigated by Mr. Maroun and Village Superintendent Brien E. Hallahan.

“We determined it was not village water. With the old pipes there was a lot of infiltration. Now the water is finding a path of least resistance. The sump pumps were installed as a temporary measure until a permanent solution is found,” Mr. Hallahan said. “They (building owners) may get reimbursed for it depending on how things play out. DOT will be exploring every situation.”

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