Nisky tames DEC through negotiations

DEC: Negations ongoing, papers haven't been received

The proposed residential building moratorium ordered by the Department of Environmental Conservation in Niskayuna could be removed if the town can fix its sewer problems.

Town officials said that negotiations with the Department of Environmental Conservation about the draft Order of Consent recently issued have lessened the severity of fines and freeze of residential construction.

In October we received a new consent order that the waste water treatment plant is getting near its capacity and, particularly on rainy days, we have the problem of potentially exceeding the capacity, and because of that they've determined that those constituted violations and we have some issues with that, said Town Deputy Attorney Paul Briggs. "The town has made a decision to accept the consent order with certain modifications."

The biggest change in the new Order of Consent, provided by town officials, is connections will be allowed for any residential properties that were submitted to the town by Dec. 3. Previously, the order only allowed new connections from projects that were approved by the Town Board before Oct. 1.

There are currently eight substantial residential projects that have been submitted to the Town and all will be allowed to progress with the moved date. Final approval for the projects are still around a year away, said Briggs, so the town would have time to improve the sewer system beforehand. The original date only allowed one of those projects to move forward.

"We can still continue to accept projects," said Briggs, but actual construction would have to wait until the order is lifted.

Also, the possible $37,500 fine for violations has been reduced to only $7,500 if the town can adhere to the schedule of compliance setting benchmarks for improvements. If the town falls short on meeting DEC requirements, then the $30,000 fine is reinstated.

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