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Bethlehem replaces all mercury flow meters

The Town of Bethlehem has agreed to pay over $22,000 to Clough Harbor and Associates to help replace all of its mercury flow meters at the town's Voorheesville water plant, following a consent order signed with the state's Department of Environmental Conservation.

At its Wednesday, Sept. 24, meeting, the Town Board unanimously agreed to allow Supervisor Jack Cunningham to sign a task order with Clough Harbor for the amount of $22,100 for engineering services and support for the meter replacement.

On Monday, Sept. 29, Cunningham told Spotlight Newspapers that Clough Harbor was coming in as a consultant on the replacement process but added the town has yet to bid on the actual meter replacements, so finalized costs are not known at this time.

The DEC fined the town $15,000 in June for mercury and petroleum reporting and handling violations that occurred over the past two years.

By signing a consent form, paying the $15,000 and remaining compliant, the town does not have to pay an additional $60,000 civil penalty to DEC, according to the state's signed consent order, which stated the fine could have totaled $75,000.

Currently, the town is in full compliance with all of the stipulations of the consent order signed by the supervisor on June 6, according to DEC Region 4 spokesman Rick Georgeson.

"Bethlehem is in full compliance with the consent order and has given us everything we asked for," Georgeson said.

Cunningham has repeatedly emphasized that absolutely no contaminates reached the town's water supply " not mercury or petroleum.

DEC officials agreed and said no mercury was found in the water supply, but said they fined the town for not properly reporting the mercury spills. The town also did not properly dispose of an old fuel-oil tank near the plant on town-owned property, according to DEC Region 4 Director Gene Kelly.

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