"The option of leveraging that Clapper Road facility is a money saver, and the other two alternatives have substantial up-front cost," said Deputy Commissioner of Public Works Erik Deyoe. "I've got a lot more treatment capacity at the plant than I've got demand right now."
Clapper Road only operates at about 40 percent capacity. Opening up Clapper Road would defer the replacement of the New Salem plant for 10 years or more, said Deyoe, and save the town $1 million or more every year once the switch is flipped " or, more accurately, the handle is turned.
"The actual unification of the distribution systems " there's a series of valves that need to be opened up, but those valves exist today," Deyoe said.
Some upgrades would have to be made at Clapper Road, but the work would be equally necessary under the other contingencies.
Unifying the water system is built into the draft budget the supervisor is working on now. If it is taken out and another option pursued, it's another $1.5 to $2 million that would have to be found elsewhere.
Councilman Kyle Kotary, who has been critical of the budget numbers produced so far, said building this plan into the budget is folly given the fact a public outcry originally kept the water from widespread distribution and there are only a few weeks left before a budget is due.
"There's a $2 million assumption baked into this predicated on the assumption that the public this time around will be OK with opening up the Clapper Road plant and merging the water systems," he said. "I just want to make sure that there's adequate time for the public to voice their opinions and concerns."
Councilman Mark Hennessey also agreed that public input will be vital to the process.
"It's an entire community that, at least 10 years ago, was deeply opposed to this," he said.
The Town Board will meet Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 6 p.m. in Town Hall.