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GLENS FALLS — A planned infrastructure project to collect rain water from the roofs of downtown buildings will prevent about 50,000 gallons of storm water from entering the city’s sewer system per year, said Michael White, an engineering consultant to the city.

Water from the roofs of buildings along Elm, Exchange and Glen streets will be collected and flow into dry wells, instead of flowing into the the city’s sewer system.

The city will pay $56,250 of the cost of the $225,000 project, with a state grant covering the rest.

The scheduling of the work, to be done sometime in 2017, will be coordinated with the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, White said.

The city will recoup the cost of the project over five years by avoiding the cost of unnecessarily treating the storm water when it flows through the Glens Falls Waste Water Treatment Plant, he said.

The project will achieve 18 percent of the city’s goal to reduce peak flows at the city Waste Water Treatment plant by 300,000 gallons, White said in a presentation to the city Common Council on Dec. 27.

The goal would meet a state Department of Environmental Conservation order to “reduce significantly” the overflow of storm water and sewage into the Hudson River during heavy rainstorms.

The project is part of a $12.4 million multi-year plan to redirect storm water from the sewer system.

The city agreed in 2012 to complete the plan by 2020, and is ahead of that schedule.

Glens Falls is among hundreds of municipalities around the nation that have had “combined sewer overflows” that result from antiquated infrastructure in which storm water flows into the same lines as sewage.

When there is a heavy rainstorm or snow melting, the combined storm water and sewage volume is more than a wastewater treatment plant can process, and the excess flow overflows into water bodies such as the Hudson River, in the case of Glens Falls.

The city also will collaborate this year with Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District on a “green streets” initiative to do landscaping to prevent storm runoff on streets from polluting Crandall Brook and Halfway Brook, the waters of which eventually flow into Lake Champlain.

“They’re a crackerjack organization at a real good price,” White said, referring to the conservation district.

The project will be designed in early 2017 for work along up to six streets, with construction to begin in August.

The city will pay $35,000 of the $105,000 project, with a state grant covering the rest.

Follow staff writer Maury Thompson at All Politics is Local blog, at PS_Politics on Twitter and at Maury Thompson Post-Star on Facebook.

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