continued Ticonderoga must file an engineering plan for the project by June 14, said Derrick Fleury, Ticonderoga’s deputy water and waste water superintendent. But before an engineering plan can be completed, the town must have water sources.
“The key is finding a viable water source,” Fleury said. “That’s the key to the entire project. Right now there are a lot of unknowns.”
“A lot depends on these test wells,” Smith said.
The entire project should be completed by July 2015, Smith said.
Taylor noted many Ti residents are happy with the water they receive from Gooseneck Pond and Lake George. But while that may be the case, the groundwater project will save the town money, he said.
Covering the reservoir carries an estimated cost of $31 million. The state has also ordered repairs to the Lake George water system that could cost another $12-24 million. The cost of a new water system is $13.8 million.
“The most affordable and ecomonic way to go is to use groundwater,” Taylor said.
“It’ll be much more cost effective,” Smith said of groundwater. “We won’t need as much filitration; there will be no need for treatment. We’ll save a lot of money.”
Taylor noted Schroon Lake, Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake and Malone have all converted water systems to groundwater.
Ticonderoga has been declared a hardship case by the state, which makes it eligible for a no-interest loan to cover the project. That’s good news, but local officials are hoping for grant money.
In 2009 the state Department of Health ordered Ti to replace or cover the Gooseneck reservoir, which was created in 1931. The town developed a plan to replace the reservoir with tanks, but an inspection discovered problems with the Gooseneck dam and with transmission lines.
Gooseneck was designed to serve the entire town, but over time demand exceeded Gooseneck’s capacity. In 1965 a Lake George water supply was developed for emergency use. Eventually, Lake George water became necessary to meet daily demand.
During a recent inspection the state also found problems at the Baldwin Road filtration plant that handles Lake George water.
At the urging of state officials, Ticonderoga then began considering an upgrade of the entire water system, utilizing groundwater sources. Preliminary engineering studies have identified five possible aquifers in Ticonderoga that could be water sources.
The Ticonderoga water system serves about 3,700 people.
Information on the project is available on the town website at www.townofticonderoga.com