Saratoga County Water Authority to retain control of water system

Control of the Saratoga County water system will not likely have to revert to the county Board of Supervisors as was previously thought, according to Jack Lawler, chairman of the county water authority.

Lawler says he has met with state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Alexander B. \Pete Grannis to hash out questions regarding the public necessity of the county's $67 million plan to pump water from the Hudson River in Moreau.

The result of Lawler's meeting with Grannis is that the water authority now only has to provide to the DEC a summary of potential customers for the next five years in order to get the permit. "All they're looking for is a letter from the authority outlining our customers for the next five years," Lawler said in a Dec.11 interview.

DEC officials sent a letter to the Saratoga County Water Authority in late November stating they had concerns over the number of subscribers to the project. The DEC in 2006 gave the county Board of Supervisors a permit to install a waterline from Moreau to Malta, but refused to transfer that permit to the Saratoga County Water Authority.

When he first received the DEC's letter of concern, Lawler said his plan was to revert control of the system to the board of supervisors, so that there would be no interruption in construction.

"At this point, that's on hold," he said. "Considering how little additional information they're asking for in this letter, I don't think that will be necessary."

At the heart of DEC's concern for the project was the absence of Clifton Park as a customer. Clifton Park, Saratoga County's largest municipality, withdrew from the project about the time the water authority took control and a full year after the original DEC permit was granted to the county board of supervisors. Clifton Park is a Glenville water district customer, although Clifton Park officials have yet to renew the contract with the Schenectady County municipality.

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