MALTA — Fewer than 10 percent of Malta’s residents participated in a water survey mailed last year by town officials, who are considering the installation of more water and sewer lines in several parts of town.
“We don’t have water out here and it’s something that everybody takes for granted until it happens to them,” said Councilman Craig Warner, chairman of the 11-member committee that has studied the matter since April 2016. “That’s what I found out.”
The committee’s four-part mission consists of identifying water needs throughout Malta; accessibility and priority needs, and the associated costs; potential funding methods; and analyzing the grant process to obtain funds.
At the April 17 Malta Town Board meeting, Warner gave a presentation regarding the water survey. Of more than 13,000 town residents, roughly 600 had responded.
“It was a very controlled survey,” Warner said, noting how multiple responses from property owners were not allowed.
Warner explained that residents on Knapp Road have significant difficulties drilling wells for water due to excessive shale deposits underground.
Malta Supervisor Vincent DeLucia said homeowners in the nearby hamlet of Maltaville, in particular, have been“suffering”without sufficient water “for quite some time.”
“There are several places in the town of Malta that need water,” the supervisor said.
The current task is to build upon a previous study that focused on Maltaville, according to Warner. He said a final report should be prepared by June.
His committee established six separate “areas” of Malta; the largest includes Round Lake and extends north along the Town of Stillwater border. A majority of respondents live in Area 2, which goes from the southern end of Saratoga Lake west to Route 9.
Nearly 475 people rated the town’s water “average, low or very low” quality, the survey results show. A total of 576 people expressed a “desire to migrate to municipal water.”
According to DeLucia, there are water and sewer lines already installed along Route 9 to an apartment complex just south of the Malta Drive-In movie theater. New commercial development all along the Route 9 corridor is adding pressure to extend those lines farther north, he said.
In general, DeLucia added, it costs about $1 million per mile to install water and sewer infrastructure. It gets more expensive if rock formations impede progress.
Warner indicated that the town received two bids for further study. A bid by the Chazen Companies came in at $13,500, while Delaware Engineering’s bid was $22,320.
The town board has yet to choose the winning bidder to proceed. Warner estimated that the process of selecting contractors and securing the proper funds would be drawn out for another four years.
“If you guys can design a better mousetrap, we’re all ears,” stated Councilman Timothy Dunn. He had addressed his comment to Joe Lanaro and another representative of the Chazen Companies.
“I’m looking forward to working with the town to move this project forward,” Lanaro responded.