Potsdam eyes major water and sewer expansion to attract businesses, aid residents
Sunday, June 16, 2019 - 5:21 pm

BY CRAIG FREILICH

North Country This Week

POTSDAM -- Town Council is continuing its years-long look into designating water and sewer districts on State Route 56 north of the village in an effort to attract new business, aid existing businesses, and ease concerns over dug wells and septic tanks for residents.

Kevin P. Feuka of engineering and planning firm C2AE delivered an update to board members at their meeting Tuesday, June 11.

His study so far has estimated that the annual cost to a household for water would be about $1,400 a year and about $1,900 a year for sewer service.

He is now considering the possible effect of a new business, LC Drives, setting up shop in the area.

The costs "could maybe be more affordable for residents with their contribution," he said, if they were substantial participants in the district.

The cost of the project is now estimated at $4.8 million to build out the water service and $5.5 million for sewer infrastructure. There likely would be significant funds available from USDA Rural Development in loans and grants. Estimates from USDA are pending.

Feuka noted that the $1,400 and $1,900 figures for annual household service were based on not receiving any grants, which would lower the cost.

"Now that we have commercial interests possibly involved, more grants might be available," he said.

The board will review the findings and decide on next steps.

Late Town Supervisor Rollin Beattie said in 2016 that the inspiration for the water and sewer district idea was the belief that a reliable good-quality water supply will bring in more business. The car dealers would like it, since they could get fire sprinklers in there. As for sewer service, in addition to businesses, homeowners will be relieved of the constant maintenance of septic waste tanks. And, Beattie said, the services will improve property values and raise the tax base.