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Halfmoon to tap Troy water starting Friday

With dredging of the Hudson River for PCBs slated to begin Friday morning, the Town of Halfmoon announced Thursday that it will start buying water from the nearby City of Troy exclusively and shut down its feed from the Hudson.

If the federal government and GE won't step up and do the right thing, we will, said Halfmoon Supervisor Mindy Wormuth at a Thursday press conference. "We feel it's our responsibility to take care of this."

Water will travel along a 4.5 mile long pipeline before reaching the Halfmoon Water Treatment Plant, where the town will test and treat the water, if necessary. Troy will sell the water at a rate of $1.81 per 1,000 gallons, though because the length of the dredging process and the amount of treatment the water will need is unknown, an exact cost for taking Troy water is unknown.

"Troy has stepped up to the plate and given us a very reasonable rate," said Wormuth.

General Electric paid for construction of the water pipe. The company dumped PCBs into the Hudson until 1977, when they were banned by the federal government as a possible carcinogen. Under an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency, GE will dredge 265,000 cubic yards of river bottom this year before potentially moving on to a much larger second phase.

Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian said the city's water system has enough excess capacity to service Halfmoon and a few other towns along the Hudson, and expects the city to make a $500,000 to $1 million profit from the deal with Halfmoon. He said monetary gain is not the goal, though.

"Dredging has been a contentious issue for some time," said Tutunjian. "I commend any community that steps up to provide drinking water for its residents."

Halfmoon still hopes to recoup the cost of buying Troy water through a lawsuit brought against the EPA and GE"along with Stillwater, Waterford and Saratoga County"that argues an alternative water source should be provided during the dredging process. The EPA has said that it will only cover the cost of water when tests show PCB levels to have risen above a certain level.

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