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L.G. Village reconsiders sewer plant upgrades

Lake George Village leaders resumed their efforts this week towards upgrading the village sewer treatment plant with an aim of reducing ammonia and nitrates in the plant's outflows.

Lake George Village leaders resumed their efforts this week towards upgrading the village sewer treatment plant with an aim of reducing ammonia and nitrates in the plant's outflows. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Plans to clean up the discharges of the Lake George sewer treatment plant — put on hold in recent months by the village leaders — are now beginning to move forward.

The Lake George Village Board voted June 11 to solicit quotes from various engineering firms to upgrade equipment at the plant to increase the treatment capacity and boost the purity of the treated effluent.

Their action was prompted by a quote document, describing a proposed upgrade project, provided by the engineering firm C.T. Male. The cost of the project was estimated by CT Male at about $985,000, including a $24,200 “credit” for engineering work already accomplished by C.T. Male Associates on a prior project — designed to remove excessive levels of ammonia from the plant’s outflows.

This earlier project was shelved in February by the board because its estimated cost had doubled to $2.7 million.

June 11, Lake George Village Public Works Superintendent said the new less-expensive project would likely accomplish the goals of the prior project, by rerouting effluent through the plant to make treatment more effective.

For several years, the level of nitrates in the plant’s discharges have exceeded state limits. The state has not issued a consent order for the violations, but it may do so at some point in the future if the nitrate problem isn’t remedied, Harrington has said.

C.T. Male’s project description sparked a lengthy debate among village leaders, who said they wondered whether the cost estimates were realistic — considering C.T. Male’s prior record at underestimating expenses, and whether the $24,200 credit on the new quote was offset by an artificially boosted project cost. Harrington, however, noted that C.T. Male had extensive familiarity with the treatment plant since the firm had engineered various prior upgrades there.

Lake George Mayor Robert Blais said that soliciting quotes from other engineers, anxious to secure Lake George Village as a long-term client, might lower the cost of the project.

”We have engineers showing up at the village offices with gift boxes of golf balls or candy to get us as clients,” he said.

Any decision of the village board on the project must receive the endorsement of the Lake George Town Board, as the town sends its municipal sewage to the village plant for treatment, and pays for the privilege.

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