New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday in a press release that thirty municipalities, including the City of Amsterdam, would receive grant money and interest free loans to help with water infrastructure projects. Amsterdam is slated to receive a $1.25 million grant as well as a $3.75 million interest-free loan to cover a $5 million project to upgrade the city’s waste-water pump stations and sewer lines. The grant comes from the NYS Water Infrastructure Improvement Act, while the loan is from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.
In separate press release, the action was billed as a “state response” to the recent sewer line leak near Forest Avenue that had been spilling waste-water into the Chuctanunda River. However, the mayor and common council approved borrowing for the $5 million upgrade project back in February and Urban Renewal Agency Director Nick Zabawsky expressed optimism at the time that the city would be eligible for both the interest free loan and the grant to help offset the cost.
The press release states that the funding “will help the city prevent future sewer overflow events.”
The overflow of waste water into the Mohawk River from the various city pump stations during times of heavy rain has been ongoing issue for the city. The problem is caused by infiltration of storm drain water into the sewer lines. The failure of a valve at a city pump station also caused a recent overflow. However, the Forest Avenue problem was a continuous leak, not a one-time overflow event related to groundwater or equipment failure.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos met with city and state officials at the Forest Avenue work site on August 1 and promised technical assistance for the project.
Although the final cost of the repair has not yet been determined, officials have speculated the amount will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In the press release, City of Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa said, “The cooperation with all levels of government has been very refreshing, and I appreciate the personal support from Governor Cuomo, Senator [George] Amedore and Assemblyman [Angelo] Santabarbara. Improving water and sewer infrastructure is a non-partisan issue, and our city is very encouraged and thankful for all the financial and engineering support to address our infrastructure needs.”