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Stockholm town officials note changes with water district project engineering report

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WINTHROP - Recent issues with the St. Lawrence Central School District water system have led to some changes in the engineering report for a proposed water district project in the hamlets of Brasher Falls and Winthrop.

Councilman Robert J. McCuin, who ran the town’s regular board meeting Tuesday evening, noted that he spoke with C2AE Inc. engineer Timothy A. Burley Monday about the alterations needed for the report.

“His update mentioned a meeting that was held in December at the town of Brasher building. (Public Health Engineer Ronald E. Sheppard) called the meeting and was bringing things up to date. That included the problems which have surfaced at St. Lawrence Central School with their water being deemed unsafe for consumption,” Mr. McCuin said.

“After this meeting, the group decided that they would amend the engineering report that they sent to New York state to include the problems at St. Lawrence Central School, which was coliform in the water I believe.

“Ron also offered to include related history of DEC documented pollution problems in the area, including past clean up efforts, contaminated problems, and old contamination in persistent areas,” he added.

School district officials worked with the Department of Health for nearly three months beginning in early November to clear out issues stemming from a routine coliform bacteria sample taken on Nov. 5. The sample taken at the elementary school tested positive for total coliform, but negative for e. coli.

Four other samples were collected on Nov. 7, and those were also positive for total coliform, but negative for e. coli.

Following confirmation of the contamination, a boil-water advisory was put in effect for the elementary school on Nov. 8 and for the middle and high school on Nov. 19.

The district submitted a plan of action to the Department of Health in December, calling for the installation of chlorination systems at the schools.

Systems were installed at the buildings during the Christmas break, allowing the district to chlorinate the water. The levels were monitored, and the district received approval from the Department of Health to start using the water again in mid January.

Mr. McCuin added that given the changes to the report there is a chance that the towns of Brasher and Stockholm could see increased funding for the project.

“They hope that this new information included in our application could greatly increase our position on the list of funding this year, as there will be a new list completed after August,” he said. “Ron also said the Department of Health will have a new report on all of these events for us fairly soon.”

The councilman said that three or four years agocitizens came forward and requested that the town of Stockholm consider a hamlet wide water district neighboring Brasher Falls and Winthrop. Since then, the municipality has hired an engineering firm, C2AE Inc., to try and move the plan forward. Mr. Burley told council members last summer that they were targeting two agencies for funding the proposed project - the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state’s Drinking Water Revolving Fund. The project will need to be scored and ranked by the agencies along with proposed projects from other municipalities also seeking funding.

“We submitted a report last summer and you submit to basically get on a list for funding and we did not score as well we had hoped because we have historical problems with ground water contamination, especially in this hamlet and Brasher I think too,” Mr. McCuin said.

“(The rewritten report) is going to increase our score to some magnitude no matter what happens and then they’re going to add these other things and hope to have it all ready for this year,” he said.

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