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Residents oppose city water project

The city is looking at other water options because demand is putting an excessive burden on its current sources.

The city of Saratoga Springs receives its water from two sources: surface water from the Loughberry Lake watershed and groundwater from the Geyser Crest well system. Water is also pumped into Loughberry Lake from Bog Meadow Brook during the high demand summer months to help maintain the lake level. The Loughberry Lake source is treated conventionally at the Excelsior Avenue treatment plant with flocculation, settling, filtration and chlorination and is then pumped to the city. The Geyser Crest source comes from seven wells, and is chlorinated and pumped into the system. Both sources add fluoride at the rate of 1 milligram per liter. The two water systems are interconnected with the main source, Loughberry Lake, supplying most of the city and the Geyser Crest source supplying the Geyser Crest subdivision and a small portion of the southwest section of the city.

The city's water system serves approximately 28,000 people through 8,894 service connections. The total water produced in 2005 was over 1.5 billon gallons with about 1.36 billion gallons coming from the Excelsior Avenue plant and about 183 million gallons from the Geyser Crest plant. The city's daily average water use was 4.2 million gallons, according to figures.

The amount of water actually delivered to customers was approximately 1.25 billion gallons. This leaves about 289 million gallons unaccounted for. These losses came from flushing mains, fighting fires, occasional leakage, park and recreation use, street sweepers and illegal use, adding up to approximately 18 percent of the total amount produced.

For most of 2005, water customers were charged a sliding-scale rate, with most customers paying approximately $10.30 per 1,000 cubic feet of water consumed, or approximately $1.39 per 1,000 gallons. In October 2005, the City of Saratoga Springs restructured the water rates so that water customers were charged a sliding scale rate with most customers paying approximately $8.50 per 1,000 cubic feet of water consumed, or approximately $1.13 per 1,000 gallons.

If the city were to subscribe to the county's water plan, residents could see a drastic increase in their water rates, as the county tries to level out water costs across the board, said Thomas McTygue.

Bronner's plea to the council came after the city's capital projects budget was reviewed, with the notable absence of the water project. Commissioner of Finance Matthew McCabe said the two budgets are reviewed and released to the public simultaneously.""

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