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Mayor discusses water treatment plant with Sen. Schumer

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Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer knows the city will be seeking his help to obtain funding for a project at the city’s water treatment plant that is expected to cost tens of millions of dollars.

Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith said he was able to get a face-to-face meeting about the project with Sen. Schumer while the Democrat was in town on Friday for an unrelated news conference on the drug xylazine.

He’s also talked to Reps. Elise M. Stefanik and Claudia L. Tenney’s offices about securing “earmarks” with their help for the project.

The city needs to come up with a solution to reduce two disinfection byproducts that exceed acceptable levels at the Huntington Street water treatment plant.

While city officials have not released any information about the cost of the project, Mayor Smith said he’s become aware that the figure could be $33 million.

“We’re looking at getting it as much funded as possible,” the mayor told City Council members on Monday night.

Mayor Smith also said he’s been “in constant and frequent” contact with Fort Drum garrison leaders as the city prepares to seek federal Department of Defense funding for the project and they’ve been discussing it with higher up officials in the Army.

“They are in support of it,” Mayor Smith said, adding that the congressional representatives and the Army are “looking for numbers” on the project’s cost.

The two byproducts are known as total trihalomethanes, or TTHM, and haloacetic acids, or HAA5. They are formed when chlorine or other disinfectants used to control microbial contaminants in drinking water react with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter, such as tree leaves, algae or other plants in surface water.

The city is under a federal Environmental Protection Agency administrative order to fix the problems with the two byproducts at the water treatment plant.

The city has been working on a pilot program since last year with engineering consultant GHD, Syracuse.

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