Even as village of New Paltz officials were celebrating a $750,000 grant to further improve the leaky sewer mains under the streets, they held a public hearing on an application to secure yet more funding for this ongoing project. Village government labors under a consent order dating back to 2003 which requires regular improvement on the issue of sewer infiltration and inflow when storm water runoff gets into the system and overwhelms it. In the past, that’s resulted in raw sewage running in the streets and manhole covers being blown from their holes by the pressure.
The construction this past summer along North Chestnut Street was to make needed sewer improvements, and similar traffic delays will come to South Chestnut either in 2019 or 2020, depending on how quickly plans can be finalized and approved. The project will also include North Manheim Boulevard, North Oakwood Terrace, Hasbrouck Avenue and Grove, Prospect and Mulberry streets. Analysis with a remote camera was used to determine that these are among the “worst culprits” remaining in the system, according to grant application writer Mark Lauer. The work will be to replace nine manholes and 1,195 feet of sewer main, as well as to reline another 5,970 feet of sewer main.
Lauer confirmed that this summer’s work was completed as planned, further reducing the issues with the village-wide system that also is connected to some town-controlled mains. When asked about the status of the consent order, he said that there is “no goal line in sight,” although presumably at some point all sewer lines will have been replaced, theoretically eliminating all problems. According to Mayor Tim Rogers, the improvements are such that there are only issues during major rain events, but those remain a serious problem. The number of gallons treated on a daily basis continues to drop, but lime needed to be used to disinfect some streets in October of 2018, for example.
Trustees have signaled no interest in including the CVS project on North Putt Corners Road in the network of village sewage pipes, in part because the system still can’t handle everything poured into it during those large rain events.
Other grant applications did not fair as well. Village officials sought money to improve the water system, and joined with town leaders for the third year running in a bid to fund a joint recreation improvement plan. “We’ll try again,” promised the mayor.