Village awarded $776K grant for wastewater plant

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Photo by EJ Conzola II. A new disinfection apparatus that uses ultraviolet light will be installed at the Village of Whitehall wastewater treatment plant thanks in large part to a $776,000 grant the village recently received through the state Water Quality Improvement Program.

By EJ Conzola II

The Village of Whitehall has received a roughly three-quarters of a million dollar grant that will help pay for the installation of a new disinfectant system at the village wastewater treatment plant.

The grant, from the state Department of Environmental Conservation through its Water Quality Improvement Program, is the latest in a series of state and federal grants the village had sought to address its infrastructure woes – primarily the water and sewer systems.

The $776,000 grant will help pay for the installation of an ultraviolet disinfecting system at the sewer plant – an improvement the state Department of Health is requiring of communities statewide. The remainder of the cost will be drawn from other grants being used to finance the water and sewer upgrades.

“It looks like you’re going to come out without spending any money of your own,” Bob Murray, a senior municipal funding specialist with LaBella Associates, told the Village Board’s Public Works Committee on Feb. 28. LaBella is one of the village’s consultants on the infrastructure projects.

“Ultraviolet radiation (UV) … has been shown to be an effective disinfection process against bacteria” and is now considered “a primary disinfection process” for many public water systems, according to the DOH Environmental Health Manual.

In recent months, the village has received grants totaling more than $2 million from state and federal sources, including the state Environmental Facilities Corp. and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program. The village is also seeking additional funding through the state Office of Community Renewal to pay for additional infrastructure upgrades.

Among the projects either underway or in the planning process are the relocation of a water line that currently runs under the Poultney Street bridge, the replacement of water lines along State Route 22, the replacement of aged water and sewer lines under Poultney and Williams streets, the replacement of several sewer system pumps and a survey of water service lines with an eye to replacing all lead lines in the village.

Although it will be some time before all the improvements will be completed, “things are looking up,” Mayor Julie Eagan said.