$1.93 million worth of improvements needed for Skaneateles water system

A map of the village water system highlighting the proposed improvements.

A map of the village water system highlighting the proposed improvements.

To address sanitary and firefighting concerns, the village of Skaneateles is being asked to take on an estimated $1.93 million project this year to improve water pressure in the village.

Due to concerns expressed by the Skaneateles Fire Department over insufficient pressure, or “fire flow,” in water hydrants, the village board approved $50,000 to be spent on a study on the problem in July 2012.

The study was conducted by engineers from GHD, a national engineering, architecture and environmental consulting firm. Representatives from GHD presented the findings of the study to the village board, municipal board and director of municipal operations Bob Lotkowictz at a joint meeting on March 27.

The study involved testing water pressure at all the hydrants in the village as well as using computer software to project how different improvements to the system would affect pressure in the hydrants.

The verdict was that the village needs to replace select water mains, mostly on the east side of the village, with new pipes that are wider in diameter.

Since the village board approved the study, the Onondaga County Department of Health also contacted the village with concern over the low pressure.

In a letter to the village and town leaders dated March 8, Kevin Zimmerman, director of the county division of environmental health, stated that the current conditions were “inadequate and unacceptable.”

The letter stated that the current pressure makes it impossible for the system to be effectively flushed, which could lead to sanitary issues. It read: “At present, flushing can not be effectively performed as required for preventative maintenance or for resolving water quality issues such as stagnant water, low chlorine residuals and bacteriological growth/biofilms.”

The village municipal board discussed the project with Lotkowictz and finalized two recommendations to the village board of trustees regarding the project at its April 24 meeting.

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