Beaver Creek Clean River Project

Beaver Creek rendering

Rendering of the proposed Beaver Creek Clean River project in Lincoln Park. (Photo courtesy of the Albany Water Department)

Community hears about sewer plan

By Amanda Fries, Albany Times Union

Putting a $45 million sewer facility in city park near multiple schools is a tough pill to swallow for some city residents.

Simone Freeman, who lives on Summit Avenue, voiced concern about impact on children of the Beaver Creek Clean River Project in Lincoln Park, saying the harm would outweigh any benefits the satellite facility is expected to bring.

“I’m still utterly against this project from a safety standpoint,” she said Thursday during a public meeting at the Capital South Campus Center. “I’m not feeling empowered. I’m not feeling like my voice is being heard.”

Albany Water Department officials provided an overview of the facility – that would be built across from the Thomas S. O’Brien Academy of Science and  Technology near the lower portion of the ravine in Lincoln Park – to separate floatables like trash, leaves and other debris from the combined wastewater and storm water pipe that serves as the main line in Albany to the river.

Previously referred to as the “Big C” project, the facility is part of dozens of projects Hudson River communities have agreed to build as part of a long-term control plan to address the massive overflows into the river.

The facility would chlorinate wastewater before it continued to the county sewage treatment plant at the Port of Albany, so that during heavy rains when overflows into the Hudson occur, less trash and bacteria would be dumped into the river. It would operate May through September.

A $10 million grant from the state will help pay for the project, with total costs being split among the river communities in the consent order.

Freeman, as well as others, recognized that the city must build the facility, but they hope a better location can be found.

Water Commissioner Joe Coffey emphasized the public forums aim to do just that – determine the best location that’s least intrusive as well as fine-tune green infrastructure and recreational aspects the project will include.

Due to multiple combined sewers converging at Delaware Avenue, Albany is limited to where the facility can be placed. It must be along the Beaver Creek sewer, which runs under Lincoln Park, the developed downtown district of the South End and an industrial park in a 100-year flood plain.

“I don’t know where else they could put it,” said former Common Council member Dominick Calsolaro, remarking that he’s not thrilled with it being sited near schools.

The Common Council on Monday will vote on a resolution urging state leaders to pass a bill to allow the work inside the park.

While the project doesn’t negate sewage overflows into the river, it would address the state consent order by removing solids and treating the wastewater that does end up in the Hudson. It also would address sewage overflows that occur in the ravine, which often leave the neighborhood reeking in the summer months.

Aaron Mair, a former Sierra Club national president, pointed out that the issues currently plaguing the area – sewer overflows in the ravine, for one – are impacting children now. The project will address this while also reducing the bacteria that flows into the Hudson River, he said.

Community input on green infrastructure – proposed wetlands and park amenities – would allow residents to shape the project into something that fits the community, Mair said.

More Information about proposed project:
Beaver Creek Clean River Project, City of Albany Water & Water Supply Department
– Albany Pool Communities Combined Sewer Overflow Long Term Control Plan, Capital District Regional Planning Commission

Past Coverage:
– Albany residents learn more about Beaver Creek Clean River Project – WNYT, April 10, 2018
Public airing on $45M sewer facility in Lincoln Park set for Monday – Albany Times Union, April 17, 2018
– Public forum on proposed $45M sewer facility in Lincoln Park – Albany Times Union, April 20, 2018
– The plan to fix a problem in Albany that’s been a century in the making — and the concerns about that fix – All Over Albany, April 24, 2018

Opinion Pieces:
They Want To Fill In The Ravine In Lincoln Park – Albany Weblog, April 9, 2018
The Divide: A sewage treatment plant in a park, next to a school? – The Alt, April 10, 2018
Luke and Katie from The Alt sit down with Dominick Calsolaro to discuss the possible sewage treatment plant in Lincoln Park and other environmental concerns facing Albany and the Capital Region – Schenectady Public Access Television, April 13, 2018

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