Water main worries

SARANAC LAKE – Village workers were digging in the dirt this morning on Broadway, investigating the lay of the water main that runs beneath the downtown street – a main that burst this winter, leading to a miserable five-day ordeal.

It’s not official, but village Department of Public Works Superintendent Jeff Dora says the water main that leaked beneath Broadway this winter may need to be replaced entirely, from Dorsey Street to Bloomingdale Avenue.

Village officials previously said this job could be added onto an existing $12.5 million package of loans and grants to overhaul the village water system. The water source has already been changed from McKenzie Pond to new wells across town, and many other water mains have been replaced.

The Broadway water main section Dora is talking about is roughly about 80 years old, he estimated. In mid February, it and its lateral lines sprang multiple leaks, which flooded the road and the basement of at least one business.

Village workers patched the leaks with difficulty. The incident and the age of the system started Dora and other officials thinking that the section of main needs to be replaced. He wasn’t able to give estimates on how much the project would cost or when it might happen.

This morning’s work was prompted by warmer weather. Temperatures in the 40s and 50s since Sunday have thawed the ground somewhat, and with the frost gone, workers can better explore how the earth and the pipes have settled and find the “voids where material had washed out,” Dora said.

All of this is part of an attempt to get the road ready for the summer tourist season, Dora said. He expects the torn-up section of road to be blacktopped sometime before Memorial Day.