Au Sable Forks Jay Supervisor Randall “Randy” Douglas said that the best gift he received over the holidays was the second passed test of the new water line in Au Sable Forks.
“Over the weekend, we got two good tests back from the state Department of Health on the water line and everything is now up and running,” Douglas said. “That is a big burden that is now off our shoulders here. It was the best New Year’s present I could receive.”
The new water line, which crosses the Ausable River and replaces the line that was destroyed Aug. 28 in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, is encased in concrete and buried 6 feet below the riverbed.
“We now have a safe water system for the 650 users that we are pleased is now up and running,” Douglas said. “We did a lot to protect it from future flooding. We probably over re-enforced the line, but we do not want to be put in this situation again.”
While being replaced, the hamlet relied on a temporary line which was created with the use of a fire hose.
“The biggest concern with that was fire protection, because we did not have enough water coming through that hose,” Douglas said.
The project was funded through the Hurricane Emergency Loan Program (HELP), operated by the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC).
Jay was the first municipality in the state to receive the HELP funding, which totaled $1 million and will be interest-free. In all, 22 municipalities applied for the program, including the town of Peru, who also received a $1 million loan.
Douglas said that his next concern is working with state and federal agencies to make sure that the town received the necessary funds to pay for the repairs.
“We need to keep after the funding from FEMA and other agencies,” Douglas said. “We still have major repairs to some of our sewer infrastructure and some of our roads.”
As Essex County Chairman, Douglas said that another main concern is the need for debris removal along the rivers in the county, which will be aided by the state.
“It looks like we will be getting $500,000 from the state for debris removal from the riverbanks, which is part of a fund that Gov. Cuomo announced at his State of the State Address,” Douglas said. “I have been working with the DEC and other departments and we have identified crucial areas that need to be taken care of.”