Press-Republican

Local News

March 27, 2014

Town, tribe vie for water pact

FORT COVINGTON — The Town of Fort Covington and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe each want to be the new water provider for Salmon River Central School.

It will be up to the State Department of Education and the School Board to choose which entity will get the 20-year contract.

The district has set aside $2.4 million for the water project, which will dovetail with a $36.5 million capital-improvement project that gained voter approval in October 2013 and is in the design phase.

It includes replacing or upgrading boilers, electrical, plumbing and ventilation systems, roofs and classrooms, the bus garage and high-school gym, as well as asbestos abatement.

ELEVATED ACETONE

Both the town and tribe say they have the capacity and staffing to improve the district’s drinking water, which tested below State Department of Health standards more than a year ago but does not pose a health hazard to users.

According to a report from the State Department of Environmental Conservation, a fuel spill in November 2010 was closely monitored without finding contamination to the district’s well water until January 2013, when elevated acetone levels were found. 

As a precaution, the district switched to bottled water and continued using well water for bathrooms, hand washing, showering and the swimming pool.

Discussions began about using the town’s municipal-water system, and the Mohawks also expressed interest.

TOWN PLANS

Fort Covington Town Supervisor Pat Manchester told School Board members this week the town could complete the project for $2.2 million by October 2015 and drill a new well to go with its two existing ones.

They could provide the 16,000 gallons a day the district needs plus serve the town’s 300 residential and business users.

The town’s water-supply service ends just 2.6 miles from the school campus.

Manchester said misinformation has circulated about the town’s water equipment and service.

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