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Colonie water tank to be rebuilt

Colonie town officials cleared the final steps in approving the removal of the aging Ross Court water tank in Loudonville at the Thursday, Jan. 17, town board meeting.

The tank's removal is part of a bigger plan to eventually tear down all three of the Latham Water District's elevated water tanks and replace them with tree-level structures.

The other two tanks, located on Utica Avenue in Latham, will be demolished as part of a decade-old initiative by the Albany County International Airport and Federal Aviation Administration to remove the towers.

In the late 1990s, the FAA deemed the two towers a threat to approaching aircraft.

The Latham Water District will remove the towers and oversee the construction and replacement of the tank and infrastructure in a 4-acre wooded parcel in Loudonville called the Sanderson site. The FAA will foot the bill for the Utica Avenue tanks, their replacement and the cost of running new water mains. So far, overall construction costs are at $11.1 million. However, the town's expenses for the Ross Court tower demolition stands at $631,000. The costs would be minimal for water users, said officials.

According to John Frazer, Latham Water District superintendent, the project amounts to a one-cent increase in the district's ad valorem rates. The district may be able to absorb the additional costs without passing the costs onto water users, Frazer said.

Even though one cent seems like a lot, I think we can afford that, he said.

Frazer and project engineers C.T. Male hope to begin the work as soon as possible now that funding had been secured for the project.

Gary Male, of C.T. Male said that his firm is prepared to do the necessary survey work associated with the project as soon as the resolutions passed. The engineering firm will begin surveying the necessary properties to construct new water mains in order to secure easements. Already the properties along the 2-1/2-mile stretch of land slated for the new water main have been appraised at fair market value, said Frazer.

Soon Male will plot the route.

The hope is that by fall or winter of 2009, the two Utica Avenue towers will come down, and engineering and construction associated with the new water mains would begin in spring.

The scope of the FAA-funded work includes: a new 36-inch water main from the Latham Water plant to Sparrowbush Road, a second 24-inch main to run along Loudon, Crumitie and Fairview roads, a new tree-level water tank at the Sanderson site in Loudonville and pump station, also at the Sanderson site.

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