Lake George Village’s water system has more than enough capacity to service the five to six hundred new residential units expected to be constructed in the Town of Lake George within the next few years.
That’s the conclusion of a technical study conducted by C.T. Male of the system’s current condition, of the upgrades necessary if the plant’s capacity is to be increased and the cost of those upgrades.
The town and the village split the costs of the $43,000 study, which was commissioned by the village in November, 2022.
According to village officials, state law requires the village’s water system – which pumps water directly from the lake to a filtration plant –to be large enough to remain a reliable, affordable source of water for its current and future residents and businesses.
It is also legally entitled – but not required – to deliver water to customers outside its boundaries.
According to Village Mayor Ray Perry, present and past officials were concerned that the system might lack the capacity to service the anticipated demand from new customers outside the village.
Among the likely new customers are thirteen new developments, including Queensbury-based developer Rick Schemerhorn’s mixed use complex on the site of Waterslide World, which Schermerhorn Real Estate Holdings purchased on July 27 from Dawn Koncikowski, and Joel Gross’ townhouse and apartment complex at the former site of Lake View Hotel and Conference Center.
According to the study by C.T. Male, an increase in capacity to meet the demands of those new customers will not be necessary immediately.
“The system has the capacity to deliver two million gallons of water per day, which is roughly double the one million gallons per day consumed in the summer months. In winter, the demand is even less – for 600,000 gallons per day. So, yes, the system has more than enough capacity to accommodate the projects we have on the table and anything likely to be proposed in the near future,” said Dan Barusch, the Director of Planning and Zoning for both the Town and the Village of Lake George.
Any immediate upgrades recommended by the study “are minimal,” said Barusch.
“Those upgrades are unrelated to the ability of the system to meet the expected demand for water; they would be a part of the maintenance program of any municipal water system,” said Barusch.
Replacing a valve in the pump station, for instance, would typically be funded through the village budget, said Barusch.
New Water Districts
By January, 2025, the Town of Lake George expects to have established two water districts encompassing the new development projects that will be among the consumers of the village’s water, Barusch said.
Those water districts will, once established, share responsibility with the village for funding any significant improvements to the system, including the expansion of mains to townhouse or apartment complexes or improvements to the filtration plant, which might be necessary at some point within the next decade. According to the New York State Comptroller, those expenses can legally be met through the issuance of debt.
Water Rates Include Cost of Maintenance
The New York State Comptroller advises water authorities to structure water rates to include the cost of infrastructure maintenance, improvements and expansion.
Some of those costs will be included in the written contracts large businesses and resorts outside village boundaries will be required to sign with Lake George Village if they are to purchase its water.
In the past, billing was based solely on usage, as determined by meters.
At its August 21 meeting, Lake George Village’s Board of Trustees approved a resolution requiring the written contracts.
As of now, only development projects approved within the past five years will be required to sign the contracts, but according to Mayor Perry, older properties will eventually be subject to the new rules.
Once the water districts are established, it is likely that the Village’s contracts will be with its authorities.
Written contracts with consumers will permit crews from the village’s water department to access properties to monitor usage and to maintain or repair hook-ups, said Keith Lanfear, Lake George Village’s Superintendent of Public Works.
“We will probably have an obligation to maintain the lines to new developments, but we will need legal access,” he said.