BALLSTON – The sewer committee tasked with managing the Ballston Lake sewer project met Tuesday to discuss concerns from the community and prepare its final proposals to related laws to be passed by the Town Board.
The $10.6 million project will provide infrastructure to the approximately 700 parcels of land located adjacent to the lake, along Main Street and within Buell Heights. The project intends to protect the water quality of Ballston Lake which is currently listed as an impaired water body with the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Controversy has surrounded the project since it was approved by voters in October 2015, both within and outside the district.
“We had 28 individual comments on the law. Only eight of the individuals actually reside in the Ballston Lake Sewer District, the others were from the former proposed Route 50 district,” said Kim Kotkoskie, sewer project manager.
Ballston residents have expressed concern that any laws passed regarding the project may impact their district should a similar project pass in the future. The Route 50 district previously voted down such a proposal with 419 residents against and 108 voting in favor.
Town Board member William Goslin proposed that any law passed should only cover the impacted district.
“We would have to adopt this law or a different law in another district. It’s not as expeditious legally, but it’s fair,” Goslin said.
While this addresses concerns outside the district, more problems remain for those within Ballston Lake, particularly the high costs of mandatory connections to the public sewer. The connection can cost $3,500 to $10,000 depending on the distance of the property to the sewer line.
“Mandatory connections is something that was brought up quite a bit,” said Kotkoskie. “That piece is critical to the county to get the system to work correctly, so if they don’t have enough flow in the pipes, they have to flush those pipes with water, and the water would be a huge expense that would just get turned around and applied to the people anyway.”
Ballston Lake residents will have 60 days to perform the mandatory connection to the new sewer system or face fines of up to $1,000 per day of non-compliance.
Exemptions apply to those who fill out an application but only under specific circumstances. Financial hardship exemptions will be based on the property owner’s taxable income. Septic exemptions will apply for 15 years if installed within 10 years of the availability date of the public sewer. Homes more than 300 feet from the line will be delayed until septic failure as deemed by the town, while homes more than 500 feet away will be given a permanent exemption.
Eastline Road resident Joe Rosamino says this exemption does little to help the people on his block where many homes are less than 300 feet from the line but the septic to hookup distance far exceeds the exempted 300 feet. At $30 to $40 per foot of distance covered, the cost of anything more than 300 feet would exceed $9,000.
“We have a serious hardship on our hands. I can’t retire and my wife is worried,” Rosamino said. “The whole block is up in arms about this.”
The sewer committee will submit its proposals at the next Town Board meeting at 3 p.m. July 9 at Town Hall, 323 Charlton Road, Ballston Spa.
Interested parties can also sign-up for email notifications when there is a project update released, as well as address any questions to the board, at [email protected], or reach them by phone at 518-605-6236.