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Citizens group calls to close Clapper

Town says upgrades necessary meet current and future water usage

Clapper Road Water Treatment Facility.

Clapper Road Water Treatment Facility. Photo by Alyssa Jung.

— Responding to concerns voiced by a group of town residents about water usage and its cost, Bethlehem officials said few changes could be made because of federal regulations, safety standards and the town’s water contract with Albany.

Commissioner of Public Works Erik Deyoe gave a presentation to the Bethlehem Town Board on Wednesday, Feb. 12, outlining the reasons a previous board opted to fund upgrades to the Clapper Road Water Treatment Plant in 2010. This came after a new citizen’s group calling themselves the Committee to Protect Our Resources, or POUR, said they felt the Clapper Road facility should be shuttered because the town was using far less water than it pays to receive from the city of Albany.

“Our preliminary estimates indicated the potential for saving millions of taxpayer dollars through better management of capital and operating expenditures,” said resident and former town board candidate Dan Cunningham, who formed the committee. “At a minimum, there is strong evidence that the town needs to defer additional capital investment at Clapper Road until the problems of excess water capacity and lost water resources is addressed.”

Cunningham said POUR consists of about 15 residents who are concerned about the amount of money the town will be spending to upgrade its water infrastructure when it already pays a steep price for Albany water. He put together his own analysis by using data provided by the town through the state’s Freedom of Information law, and said he believes the water produced from Clapper Road would actually be more expensive, after calculating in facility maintenance and upgrades.

Deyoe argued that the upgrades are needed and that the Clapper Road facility is a valuable resource.

“This is a different type of beast than a factory/economic situation,” said Deyoe, explaining there is an expectation from the public that they will always have clean water coming from their taps.

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