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Nisky to collect $15k for botched pipes

Flat sewer pipes will need periodic cleaning, money won’t cover replacement

— Several years after sewer pipes were improperly installed, the Town of Niskayuna will be seeing some monetary compensation — but not nearly enough to correct the problem.

The Niskayuna Town Board on Tuesday, Sept. 25, unanimously approved accepting a settlement of $15,000 after suing Sidney L. Schwaber, Edith Schwaber, Upstate Home Builders, Inc., Ivan Zdrahal Associates, PLLC., and Ivan Zdrahal, P.E. The number of defendants is due to three different developers being involved in the installation of the sewer pipes to a residential development off Balltown Road.

“We sued all the main parties,” Deputy Town Attorney Matt Miller said. “It is often very difficult to actually find the people who are the corporations that are part of the project.”

Miller said often builders form a corporation and dissolve it before creating a new company. The only actual person the town could track down to sue was Ivan Zdrahal.

Councilwoman Liz Orzel Kasper said she wasn’t happy the town is only getting $15,000, but since the town attorney felt it was the best outcome she supported it.

Town Superintendent of Engineering Richard Pollock said the pipes were originally installed too deep and as a result did not have the required incline.

“The $15,000 is not going to be enough money to dig up the pipes and put in new pipes,” Pollock said. “I think we were initially suing them for much more than that.”

Pollock said the settlement would provide compensation for cleaning out the pipes in years to come. In the past five years the town has cleaned out the pipes less than once a year. He said a new system typically doesn’t have any issues for several years.

“Because the pipes are too flat that means we have to go in there more frequently and keep them cleaned out so stuff doesn’t back out,” Pollock. “There is supposed to be a downhill pitch to it so the water will flow downhill. If you put the pipe at dead level … gravity is not going to pull the water or sewage through the pipe.”

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