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Full funding of Essex sewer system is closer to reality

ESSEX Essex supervisor Ronald Jackson is keeping a very close eye on on the federal Water Resources Development Act of 2007: $5 million is on the line for his community.

Last week U.S. Congressman John M. McHugh (R-NY) announced that the House of Representatives voted 38140 to pass the Water Resources Development Act of 2007. The legislation authorizes Congressman McHughs request of $5 million in federal funding for wastewater infrastructure in Essex. Currently the hamlet has no municipal sewer system.

Im pleased that the House of Representatives has approved my efforts to bring crucial improvements to wastewater treatment in Essex, McHugh said in a press release. The people of northern New York have a right to clean water and proper wastewater treatment.

McHughs announcement met with a positive, though cautious, reaction from Jackson.

In the best case scenario we could start construction of the plant this coming spring and hook people up starting the next spring, said Jackson.

He admitted that a more realistic scenario would see the project start in spring 2009. The projected cost for 2008 through 2009 construction seasons is $7.2 million.

Currently the project has $1 million from the administration of former Gov. George Pataki and $500,000 in bond-act money. The remainder of the funds for the project would be secured with a grant and loan from United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development and a loan from New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation.

The legislation is awaiting passage in the Senate passage before moving onto the president desk for signature. If approved at conference, the funding will be in the 2008 budget, due April 1, 2008.

Jackson said getting a sewer system was the highest priority improvement project for Essex.

We drink water from the lake, eat fish from the lake, swim in the lake and the lake is our number one tourist attraction, said Jackson.

Jackson explained that a wastewater plant will greatly lower the phosphate levels of the lakewaer, and help prevent toxic blue-green algae and the green slime found on shore.

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