Stormwater, sewers and broadband the focus of CWC agenda

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Margaretville — The Catskill Watershed Corp. (CWC) Board of Directors on September 3 voted to fund an extension of the Prattsville municipal sewer system, authorized funding for storm water controls in South Kortright, and pledged additional support for the extension of broadband service to portions of Delaware and Schoharie counties.
The meeting was Georgianna Lepke’s final session as president. The Sullivan County representative announced that she will step down from the presidency effective October 1 because she is preparing to relocate to Florida. Her term on the board runs through April of 2015, and she expects to attend meetings through the end of the year if possible. Board members will elect a new president at a future meeting.
At Tuesday’s session, the board authorized the expenditure of up to $300,000 to connect four properties in the Washington Street Priority Area in the Hamlet of Prattsville to the community’s wastewater treatment system. The area was included in the sewer district when the system was built under the NYC Department of Environmental Protection’s New Infrastructure Program. However, the block grant provided through that program was not enough to connect the properties on Washington Street, one of which contacted CWC because of on-site septic system failure.
Because of the likelihood of failure of the other septic systems in this area of small lots, poor soils and ledge rock, the Town of Prattsville requested assistance from the CWC, which took the action to assist the residents and preserve water quality in the Schoharie Reservoir basin.
The board also approved a grant of up to $248,000 to the Town of Stamford for storm water controls in the hamlet of South Kortright, where the CWC is overseeing a community wastewater management project. Storm water collection and treatment devices will be installed in tandem with construction of the sewer collection system that will connect residences and commercial structures to the Hobart Wastewater Treatment Plant.

MTC projects
Glen Faulkner, general manager of Margaretville Telephone Company, provided an update on the company’s efforts to extend high-speed Internet service to underserved areas of the Watershed. “There are significant areas without broadband access,” Faulkner said. “These are truly unserved areas that are at an economic disadvantage, unable to benefit from telecommuting, telemedicine, and educational opportunities available on the web.”
The CWC previously supplied $250,000 to the company to help provide this service to southern Schoharie County, where the first customer was connected last month. A feasibility study was conducted with additional funds from the CWC. A New York State grant of $1.8 million awarded to MTC in March of this year will allow the service to be extended to 1,900 additional homes.
The company has also applied for a Connect NY Broadband Grant for development of wireless service from a tower in Grand Gorge in collaboration with Delaware County. The CWC Board voted September 3 to provide $10,000 towards a match for this grant, if it is awarded later this year.
Following its agenda of formal actions, the board heard from corporate counsel Timothy Cox, who outlined aspects of the draft Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD) revision that pertains to the CWC.

Water protection
The FAD spells out water quality protection activities that New York City must do and pay for in order to avoid filtering its vast Catskill and Delaware Water systems as mandated by federal law. Under discussion at present are mid-term modifications to the10-year 2007 FAD overseen by the NYS Department of Health (DOH). The DOH is currently collecting comments on the draft document from involved parties.
With the exception of a new Flood Hazard Mitigation Program, the funding requirements of this latest draft FAD revision continue programs established by the 1997 Watershed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). In addition to the proposed FAD revision, NYC is also required to fund these same Watershed MOA programs under a 15-year watershed land acquisition permit issued by NYS DEC in 2010.
The draft FAD revision provides that NYC will continue to fund CWC’s septic program, providing for the repair or replacement of up to 300 on-site septic systems per year, and will add money as necessary to CWC’s septic maintenance program.

Funding allocated
The Corporation’s Community Wastewater Management Program will receive sufficient funding from NYC to complete five more voluntary wastewater projects, in Shandaken, West Conesville, Claryville, Halcottsville and New Kingston. These hamlets are the last communities among 22 cited in the 1997 NYC Watershed Memorandum of Agreement as being in need of wastewater solutions. The CWC, charged with administering 14 of those projects, has completed six, with three more in process.
A new component of the FAD will make $17 million available to the CWC as part of a larger City-funded Flood Hazard Mitigation Program. The CWC will be responsible for administering a voluntary program to relocate flood-prone businesses, residences or community facilities; elevate structures, alter or relocate roadways, remove debris, restore floodplains or conduct other activities to help attenuate peak flows in West-of-Hudson Watershed communities.