A key driver of economic development is the availability of water and wastewater services. For the Town and Village of Champlain, New York, this is no exception. With its close proximity to the Canadian border – 40 miles south of Montreal — the area is becoming a popular destination for new and expanding businesses. “As more manufacturers and their suppliers locate in the area, the land that’s available for economic development is getting smaller and smaller,” said Village of Champlain Mayor Gregory Martin.
Incorporated in 1873, the Village of Champlain is located in the north-central part of the Town of Champlain. Each has its own governing body.
To capitalize on the region’s economic potential and make more land available for new businesses, the Town and Village of Champlain are working together on the Shared Water Project, a major water system upgrade that includes installing 44,000 feet of AMERICAN ductile iron pipe (25,000 feet of 12-inch diameter, 12,000 feet of 10-inch diameter and 7,000 feet of smaller diameter), 70 AMERICAN Flow Control 5 ¼” Waterous Pacer fire hydrants and 375 AMERICAN Series 2500 resilient wedge gate valves.
“When companies come in from Canada, one of the first questions they ask is whether water, wastewater services and gas are available,” said Martin. “The water project is a way to improve our situation and open up some land for economic development.”
This project is a joint venture of the Town and Village of Champlain. “We saw the need several years ago and began working together to make it happen,” said Town of Champlain Supervisor Larry Barcomb. “Once complete [in October 2017], we will have more land available for industrial and commercial use. We want to encourage people and businesses to come here.”
“I look at this project as two [parts],” Martin said. “The town is the first part, and the village is the second. In the village, we needed increased water pressure and a water softening unit. That’s really how we sold this whole project – the water softening unit. There is very little pipe replacement to be done in the village; most of the new piping is in the town.”
The Shared Water Project includes two new water towers that will increase water pressure and the ability to move water throughout the whole water district. Fire protection capabilities will also be enhanced.
A new water treatment plant will feature a Nano filtration system that removes minerals and softens water without the use of salt. The water treatment plant bids have been awarded, and Martin expects work to begin on it in the spring of 2017.
In the town, pipe installation will require blasting due to large concentrations of rock and nine bores under various obstructions, including two under an interstate highway leading into Canada.
Michael Jolicoeur, superintendent of Public Works for the Village of Champlain, says the system’s daily usage could increase by as much as 50 percent after the project’s completion. “We’re gaining quite a bit of piping we didn’t have before because of new users,” he said.
Albany, New York-based Casale Construction is general contractor for the project. E.J. Prescott is the waterworks distributor. “E.J. Prescott has been tremendous to work with and actively involved in making this project a success,” said Martin. “We specified Waterous fire hydrants because of how well they have performed in our system in the past and ductile iron pipe because of its durability.”
Total project costs are $13.9 million, but a $2-million grant will be subtracted from the cost at the end of the project, effectively leaving $11.9 million to be repaid to the New York state lending agency, the Environmental Facilities Corporation. The village of Champlain will repay 25 percent of the balance and the town of Champlain 75 percent, based on the benefit ratio, Martin said.
Martin, Barcomb and others are eagerly anticipating the project’s completion. Said Martin: “Once we can turn the tap on, and we get a softer water product, a cleaner water product, increase our water pressures and we can service a larger area, we’re going to be more than happy.”