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Board will borrow $990,000 to replace corroded water line

The Lancaster Town Board on Monday agreed to borrow $990,000 to replace a section of corroded water line along Schwartz Road.

The work, which will begin next spring, would replace 6,700 feet of water line on Schwartz from William Street south to Hall Road.

Residents who rely on this section of water line have endured 15 breaks over the past couple of years, said Supervisor Robert H. Giza.

"We hope this is the last line we have to fix," Giza said at a hearing before the Town Board's vote, noting the $6.8 million the town spent on other sections of its water line system over the past five years.

Giza said work on the new 12-inch water main along Schwartz probably won't cost more than $800,000, but the town will borrow $990,000 to cover any issues that arise during construction.

Part of the problem for this section of water line is its proximity to the gas line that runs under Schwartz. Experts have told town officials that the different metals in the two adjoining lines are interacting in an electrochemical process known as galvanic corrosion.

As part of this project, the water line will be moved farther away from the gas line to minimize this effect in the future, Giza said before Monday's meeting.

Giza and other town officials said the town is borrowing the money for the project at an exceptionally low interest rate.

The town will put the project out to bid this winter, to get a better price from contractors and to make sure that the work will be completed in one construction season, said Robert Harris, the town engineer.

"We're not going to start it in the middle of September and not be able to finish it," Harris said at Monday's meeting.

The project didn't raise the ire of town residents who spoke at the public hearing.

"Schwartz Road residents should be happy campers tonight," said Donald Symer, a veteran observer -- and occasional critic -- of town government, who urged the town to consider getting out of the water-delivery business.

One Schwartz Road resident thought the project didn't go far enough. Stan Krzysiak was unsuccessful in asking the board to extend the project to his home, near Erie Street, well north of the planned replacement work.

"I heard you say we have excellent water pressure [in the town], but we don't," Krzysiak said.

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