After months of data collection and engineering analysis, the Fulton County Board of Supervisors recently released a comprehensive study regarding the feasibility of establishing a regional water and wastewater system within the county. The engineer's findings report, titled "SMART Waters: A Regional Model for Water and Wastewater Services in Fulton County, NY," was prepared by Environmental Design Partnership, LLP (EDP) of Clifton Park, a professional engineering firm with extensive experience designing and operating public water and sewer systems.
Over the last 20 years, virtually every economic development forum or publication has identified the community's need for a comprehensive coordinated system to meet the needs of local businesses and encourage economic growth in the region. The 170-page report includes detailed profiles of each of the six existing water supply systems and four existing wastewater treatment plants operating locally. Supply and treatment capacities of each municipal operator were itemized along with illustrations showing each independent system's infrastructure and capabilities. In addition to chronicling the current approach in Fulton County, EDP conducted case studies of successful regional water and wastewater systems in 11 other communities around New York state. The engineering firm offered its first major conclusion as follows:
"Based upon the research conducted, EDP believes a regional water and wastewater system can be successfully implemented by Fulton County. EDP believes a regional system can provide economic benefits for the region by promoting land development."
After drawing that conclusion, the report lists potential sources of water and wastewater for a regional system and describes its vision for a model operating system in Fulton County. A key goal of the county's project was to obtain an initial "roadmap" for creating a regional system that will benefit all the area's local governments. EDP's Findings Report met that goal by laying out the following "Implementation Strategy":
1. Board of Supervisors endorses EDP's Findings Report.
2. Board of Supervisors endorses the development of a regional water and wastewater system under the administrative structure of the existing Board of Supervisors.
3. Board of Supervisors begins the process of obtaining water and wastewater capacities by meeting with officials from Gloversville, Johnstown, Amsterdam and other local municipalities as well as pursuing options to use the Great Sacandaga Lake or new groundwater wells.
4. Prepare a SMART Growth Infrastructure Plan that identifies areas of Fulton County to be serviced and estimates the cost of providing those services.
Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Rick Argotsinger kicked off the press conference by welcoming the media and over three dozen local government officials and business leaders.
He encouraged all local leaders to work together to make a cooperative regional water and sewer system a reality that improves the quality of life for area residents. He concluded his remarks by quoting auto industry pioneer Henry Ford, "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success."
For more information about this SMART Waters initiative, please visit www.fultoncountyny.gov.
Jon Stead is the Fulton County administrative officer.