Orleans seeks bid notices for water line

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LAFARGEVILLE — The Orleans Town Council is looking for contractors to build a water line along Route 12 to bring clean drinking water to hundreds of residents, including those with salt-contaminated wells.

“Route 12 water is going out to bid,” said Town Supervisor Kevin C. Rarick.

The board resolved last Thursday to send out a request for bid notices for its estimated $13.2 million project, which includes the 3½-mile water line and several service laterals to provide water to properties in Collins Landing, Seaway Avenue, Arcadia Park Road, Fishers Landing and Farrell Drive.

The town’s engineer, Robert J. Campany of St. Lawrence Engineering DPC, said the town plans to officially advertise the request for bids sometime next week, which includes sending notices through the Northern New York Builders Exchange. Interested enterprises can also attend a pre-bid meeting at 1 p.m. March 19 in the town office, 20558 Sunrise Ave. Bids will be due April 4.

“We’re getting to the end of the road,” Mr. Campany said.

The town has spent years planning and fundraising for the water line to deal with widespread salt contamination that has plagued homeowners’ wells for decades.

Residents and officials have almost universally blamed the state Department of Transportation’s salt barn on Route 12 for causing the contamination.

The entire scope of the project calls for easements for about 400 parcels, but only 200 of those parcels are needed to build the main line. The town previously initiated the eminent domain process to obtain several critical easements from property owners who were reluctant to provide them.

The town’s attorney, James A. Burrows from Conboy, McKay, Bachman and Kendall LLP, said the board only needs to obtain four more critical easements before construction for the water main can begin. The condemnation proceeding for those parcels will take place March 29 at the State Supreme Court in Jefferson County.

“My marching orders from the town board is to make it happen. We’ll make it happen,” Mr. Burrows said.

The town plans to finance the project with $8.6 million in grants and $4.6 million from a no-interest loan from the Environmental Facilities Corp. The overall grant funding includes $4 million the state awarded the town last month.

Property owners who will be connected to the water line will have to pay $375 annually plus a usage payment of $3.50 per 1,000 gallons of water.

Residents who live beyond the borders of the town of Orleans in neighboring towns have also expressed interest in connecting their properties to the town’s water line.

Peggy J. Hale said her parents, William and Jean Berry, live on Collins Landing Road on property located in both the towns of Orleans and Alexandria, but they can’t connect their home to the water line because their house was built on the Alexandria side of their land.

She also said that she knew other couples who “would be keen” about receiving municipal water from the line.

Mr. Burrows said her parents would need either to ask the Alexandria Town Council to create a district for residents to connect to the line or enter an outside service agreement with Orleans.

“If there is enough interest from the people down there, we can certainly look at creating a district,” said Alexandria Town Supervisor Brent H. Sweet. “We’d have to look into it, and a lot of it comes down to the feasibility.”

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