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Saratoga County gives go-ahead to water project

The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors approved the final environmental impact statement for the county's water project Tuesday.

The $76 million water project will go out to bid this fall. The board's approval gets the project past a major hurdle to ensure there will be water to sell to Advanced Micro Devices for its planned computer chip factory in the Luther Forest Technology Campus.

Supervisor Raymond Callanan, R-Ballston, the chairman of the county water committee, said all that remains is the bidding. Although the county has no signed contracts with any municipality or private organization for the sale of water, it still expects the project to be complete by 2008.

The supervisors voted 18-to-2 to pass the environmental impact statement. Cheryl Keyrouse, D-Saratoga Springs, and Joanne Yepsen, D-Saratoga Springs, cast the negative votes. Three supervisors were absent.

\As part of my best effort to represent the people of Saratoga Springs who elected me, as well as every other city official based on a platform opposing the county water plan, I am voting today in opposition to the resolutions regarding the water project at our special meeting of the Board of Supervisors, Yepsen said in a written statement distributed after Tuesday's special meeting.

Keyrouse distributed comments from the Committee for a Safe and Financially Feasible County Water System, which criticized the response made by the county's engineers to issues raised by people critical of the project.

The supervisors also awarded a $109,808 contract to the project engineers, Malcolm Pirnie and C.T. Male, both of Colonie, to conduct the bidding. They also authorized pursuing right-of-way acquisitions for the 28-mile pipeline from the upper Hudson River in Moreau to the technology campus in Malta.

The board also approved a $10,000 contract amendment for the engineering work to change electricity supply line requirements for the project. This could amount to nearly $1 million in savings by tapping into an electric line near the water pump station in Moreau instead of building a new electric service line.

The board also weighed its options concerning building materials, as Callanan also said that ductile iron pipe would be used for the project instead of steel. The bidding for the iron pipe would be more competitive, as opposed to the steel, he said.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Harry Gutheil, R-Moreau, said appointments to a revived county Water Authority, which is slated to take over the water project, would not be made until September.

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