Gloversville explores sewer repairs

Aging infrastructure needs proactive approach

GLOVERSVILLE — City officials have begun talking about the possibility of applying for grants to repair more sewer lines in the city further down the road.

During a discussion of an emergency sewer trunkline repair, city officials talked about what, if anything, could be done about other sewer lines in the city.

Gloversville is currently looking at spending $1.7 million to repair a broken line that sits between East Pine Street and River Street due to a break in the pipe that leaked sewage into the Cayadutta Creek.

Chad Kortz of C.T. Male Associates in Latham, who has been overseeing the project, said there is evidence that there is infiltration in other areas of the city due to an increase in what is being sent to Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Kortz said the increased flow is more costly to treat at the wastewater treatment plant.

“It can be more difficult to treat diluted water than to treat higher-strength water,” Kortz said.

Kortz said the increased flow can also cause problems in pipes due to velocity, depending on the type and location of the pipes.

“In your steeper sewer sections, you can have some issues with manholes at joints and bends with scour. You can have more issues with backups and overflows, which is problematic for DEC,” Kortz said.

Kortz said that spending $1 million a year to replace sewer infrastructure in the city, it would take 100 years to complete the replacement.

“At which point it would need to be replaced again,” Kortz said.

Kortz said Gloversville’s situation is not unusual and many cities in the Northeast have similar issues facing them with aging infrastructure.

“This is really not a unique situation,” Kortz said.

Kortz said the DEC could want the city to investigate other areas of the city for issues.

“There are some pretty good programs out there,” Kortz said, including engineering planning grants of up to $100,000 with a 20 percent match for infiltration and inflow study.

“If you apply, generally you get them,” Kortz said.

Kortz said the city could look into doing a Community Development Block Grant of up to $750,000 through the state Office of Community Renewal. He said the city of Amsterdam regularly gets such funds for their wastewater systems.

Downtown Development Specialist Jennifer Jennings said it could not be used for the current replacement project since the state does not allow projects that are already being done to qualify.

She said those funds are reimbursable, with the 2017 round, not suggested to start until March 2018.

“It wouldn’t hurt if we tried to get into this round for next season’s sewer [projects],” Jennings said.

Kortz said they can be helpful for wanting to replace a street full of infrastructure, from utilities to asphalt in one shot.

Fourth Ward Councilman Steven Smith said going for the Community Development Block grant could go a long way toward fixing issues with the city’s sewers.

Kerry Minor can be reached at kminor@leaderherald.com.

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