The trusty 25-year-old New Paltz water filtration system on Mountain Rest Road is reaching its final days.
The estimated cost of a new system amounts to $1.4 million. This expenditure will be covered by the town water budget, which is comprised of money allocated from residents’ water bills.
According to New Paltz Mayor Tim Rogers, former Village Mayor Jason West had requested funding from the United States Department of Agriculture for a new filtration system while in office, to which he was denied.
The filtration system purifies water for the town flowing from the Catskill Aqueduct, as well as New Paltz’s own reservoir water.
“The filtration system is still working,” Rogers said. “However, it may stop working at full capacity soon due to its age. We are taking a precautionary measures by acting on this now rather than later.”
The current plan involves a temporary plant that would go online in summer 2018; the new plant will be installed in time for fall 2018, according to Rogers.
Although a common misconception, the water filtration system is not responsible for the occasional brown water that residents notice; brown water is a result of tuberculation, which is a product of old pipes and sewer infrastructure.
According to Rogers, the cost of repairing and replacing this infrastructure would tally up to $5 million. The town had requested a grant from the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) back in June, but were denied.
EFC is a public benefit corporation which provides financial and technical assistance primarily to municipalities by providing low-cost financing for their water quality infrastructure projects.
Rogers said in a recent conversation he had with EFC President Sabrina Ty, Ty told Rogers that she will let the town know what they did wrong or right in the writing of the grant request. This will be useful to the town in tweaking the request and resend it in June 2018.
“Tweaking the already written request rather than hiring a grant writer to write another will save us a few thousand dollars,” Rogers said.
On the topic of water, New Paltz remains the only community out of 74 who receive water from the Catskill Aqueduct without such a backup source for the 2018 series of shutdowns.
The town, however, is in the midst of additional exploration for a backup source of water. Once a new source is found the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is prepared to contribute $3.32 million to the fruition of this source’s infrastructure, and subsquent projects such as new water meters.
This is part of an intergovernmental agreement between DEP and Village. The DEP will aid the Village in paying for half of the new water meters to keep track of water that goes into the College and homes in the Town and Village of New Paltz. Accurate meters are important, as the College pays its water bill to the illage.
In regards to the prominently examined question of the New Paltz Plains Road community becoming Water District #5, Rogers said the issue is “being ironed out, and the case is still being reviewed by the judge handling it.”