Stimulus funds set for Latham water tank move

A new source of federal funding that was announced last week is expected to speed up a project to move a Latham water tank out of the flight path of planes flying in and out of the Albany International Airport.

U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand notified Superintendent of the Latham Water District John Frazer Thursday, April 2, that the district would be receiving $5.98 million in federal stimulus money to complete the second and third phases of the project to shut down two Latham towers in the existing system and construct a new tank in Loudonville, including about 8,000 feet of 36-inch water main.

According to Frazer, the project was studied and planned in the late 1990s, following a request by the Federal Aviation Administration to have the towers moved out of the path of flights coming through the Albany International Airport.

Director of Public Affairs for the Albany International Airport Authority Doug Myers said airport officials realized the tank was in the glide path as early as the late 1960s, at the beginning of the jet age.

Jets are much bigger, their wing span is much wider, said Myers, explaining that airport officials began to be concerned that the tank would interfere with the flights.

"There is a glide slope that makes almost a straight line into the runway," said Myers. "It's almost like a road in the sky."

Myers said the tower sticks through the glide slope by 56 feet, affecting the wind patterns in the slope.

"Unlike cars, wind can affect planes," Myers said.

Myers said it wasn't until 1999 that the project officially began, with the project being led by an FAA Airport Improvement Program Grant.

To this day, Myers said, there have been no accidents involving flights colliding with the tank, but the FAA wants to move the tank before any occur.

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