Veolia Water North America unveiled a rough proposal to the Clifton Park Water Authority on Thursday, Jan. 25.
Officials from the Houston, Texas environmental services firm said it would cost approximately $22 million to build a nine-mile water pipeline between Schenectady and Clifton Park.
According to preliminary plans, Veolia would use the city of Schenectady’s surplus of clean water and sell it to Clifton Park and other communities.
When asked if the company could provide a feasible alternative to Saratoga County’s water project, Phillip Ashcroft, president of Veolia’s Northeastern division, said that if the firm built a system for Clifton Park, it could easily be expanded to include the Luther Forest Technology Campus.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. is expected to build a $3 billion computer chip factory at Luther Forest in Malta and Stillwater, and the facility would need about 1 million gallons of water per day.
Water Authority Chairman Helmut Gerstenberger, R-Clifton Park, could not comment on Veolia’s water rates because of ongoing negotiations, but said he thought the company would offer good prices.
Veolia Water designs, builds, finances, equips and operates water and wastewater facilities. The company serves more than 600 communities and 14 million people through public-private partnerships with municipalities or governments. Under a partnership agreement, the community owns the assets, controls the rates and sets the direction. Veolia Water serves as the technical partner to ensure quality services.
Veolia provides wastewater treatment services for Schenectady, and that city’s officials asked the company to help it market its surplus water. The Clifton Park proposal is part of that effort.
Clifton Park is looking for alternatives to Saratoga County’s $67 million proposal, which would pipe water 28 miles from the Hudson River in Moreau to Luther Forest.
Last fall, the Clifton Park Water Authority, the county’s biggest potential user, backed out of a plan to buy 1.5 million gallons a day from the county.
In other water news, the Water Committee of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors voted Jan. 24 to transfer $10 million to the county water authority, a move that also transfers oversight for the project from the county to the Saratoga County Water Authority, which has the power to issue bonds should they be needed to fund the project.
A portion of the state grant will go toward paying back the $3.7 million the supervisors have already spent on the $67 million project. Another portion will pay $780,000 in outstanding bills.
The fact that Veolia is making a proposal in Clifton Park could be an indicator that support for a countywide water system is diminishing. Saratoga Springs continues to research its own water source, and the county system has no signed contracts.
Despite this, the water committee remains focus on the success of a countywide system.
This is the right project at the right time in the right county, said Supervisor Ray Callanan, R-Ballston, the committee chairman.
Newly elected U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-Hudson, speaking at an appearance in Saratoga Springs recently, said she will focus her attention on the region’s water issues and the placement of AMD in Saratoga County, which she said would be beneficial to the area.