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Village Puts Water Supply for New Town Businesses on Pause

Village Puts Water Supply for New Town Businesses on Pause March 2, 2023
Aerial shot of Lake George.
New development is planned for the area near the intersection of Route 9L and Bloody Pond Road are to be serviced. Photo courtesy Crown Focus Media.

Lake George Village’s Board of Trustees has approved a six-month pause on all new commercial and multi-unit connections to its water system outside village boundaries.

According to Mayor Bob Blais, the resolution adopted by the Board on December 19 “states that for a period of six months, Lake George Village will suspend the provision of water from the Village’s system to town properties, with the exception of those occupied by single-family homes, or those approved by the Mayor.”

As the owner and operator of a drinking water system, Lake George Village is permitted by state law to profit from the sale of its water to property owners outside the Village boundaries.

But at least six months may be needed to expand the capacity of the Village’s treatment plant, said Blais.

Those upgrades will enable the Village to serve the six to seven hundred new units expected to be constructed in the Town of Lake George within the next few years, Blais said. “In all probability, the present system could not meet the needs of these new, proposed developments,” he said. “They will put a great demand on the Village’s system.

Among the proposed developments: Queensbury-based developer Rich Schermerhorn’s mixed use complex on the site of Waterslide World, which Schermerhorn Real Estate Holdings  purchased on July 27 from  Dawn Koncikowski; Joel Gross’ townhouse and apartment complex at the former site of Lake View Hotel and Conference Center and several condominium and rental developments near the intersection of Route 9L and Bloody Pond Road, where, for example,  twenty-seven new rental units have been proposed for the cabin colony behind the East Cove restaurant.

“State law requires that the Village have enough capacity in our water system to provide water for our residents and for future growth in the village,” said Blais. “Water is pumped directly from the lake through a pump station on Beach Road to our filtration plant on Ottawa Street before being distributed to more than 1,800 customers throughout the system.”

According to Blais, “Village officials are concerned that the current filtration plant will not be able to service the expected higher volume. So, to stay ahead of the curve and to assist with our future growth, an increase in capacity is necessary.”

At its November 21 meeting, the Village’s Board of Trustees voted to fund a technical study by C.T. Male of the water system’s current capacity, of the upgrades necessary if the plant’s capacity is to be increased and the cost of those upgrades.

“The study will first make certain that we have enough capacity to service people in the Village and then determine what must be done to service these projects in the Town that are now on the drawing board,” said Blais.

“The engineers will determine what our deficiencies are, what improvements are necessary, and the costs of those improvements.”

The Town of Lake George will contribute at least $20,000 to the $43,500 study. 

“We need to make sure plans are in place for future extensions and upgrades of the village’s water system,” said Dan Barusch, the Planning and Zoning Director for the Town and the Village of Lake George.

“We all have concerns about pressure and treatment capacity at the water plant,” Barusch said, explaining that withdrawal of drinking water from the lake is sufficient to serve many more households, but the water treatment and distribution system needs upgrades and expansion.

“We can take it in from the lake, but how quickly we can move it through the filtration plant and get it distributed through the system needs to be studied,” said Barusch. “No one really knows the capacity until we conduct an analysis.”

At its October meeting, the Lake George Town Board discussed the formation of water districts composed of the new developments that will be the consumers of the village’s water.

Following the discussion, “the Town Board instructed its attorneys to proceed with the formation of a water district so the Town will be ready when we are able to resume service,” said Blais.

“We think it’s a great idea for the Town of Lake George form a water district. With a water district, our water company won’t be dealing with individual customers, but, rather with the district as a whole, much as we deal with the Caldwell Sewer District. We will deliver water to the Town, the Town will bill the customers and send us one check,” said Blais.

The new water district’s customers, rather than Village taxpayers, will pay for the improvements to the treatment plant, Blais said.

C.T Male’s study is expected to take 12 to 14 weeks.

“CT mail has been in contact with us, gathering information and accumulating data. We don’t want to delay any of these projects any longer than necessary,” said Blais.

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