Clock tower at the intersection of Dayan and South State Streets in Lowville on June 10, 2021. Kara Dry/Watertown Daily Times

LOWVILLE — With village tank levels finally up over 15 feet, the water “emergency” has been downgraded to a “watch” until it can get back up to full.

Village Superintendent Paul Denise said over the past three weekends he and his crew have cleaned three out of four of the filters that clean the water, making filtration go much faster.

“We want to keep the watch mode on so we can continue to build water,” Mr. Denise said, “That’s why we didn’t get the tank filled faster, because we needed to get those filter beds cleaned. We wanted to get to 18-foot this weekend, but we decided to clean another bed.”

Because the filter bed has to be taken out of use to be cleaned, the crew can only do the work on the weekend when Kraft Heinz and other industrial users need less.

“Things are starting to improve quite a bit, so I anticipate that by next week sometime we should be at full levels,” he said, “With the beds clean we can produce more water and fill the tank faster.”

“Our resident usage, roughly, is anywhere from 300,000 to 400,000 gallons a day,” Mr. Denise said, “Industries are the majority of our usage so I don’t anticipate any issues.”

The water emergency emerged when about 800,000 gallons of water beyond the normal 1 million to 1.3 million gallons Kraft Heinz normally uses was dumped because of a valve that was left open by an employee.

The emergency declaration requiring a “mandatory reduction in water usage” by residents and businesses was issued on Aug. 27.

He said there shouldn’t be any water issues during the Cream Cheese Festival on Saturday while the final filter is being cleaned.

In the next three days before the festival, eight streets throughout the village will be getting renewed.

“They’re not (getting) reconstruction, they’re basically (getting) resurfacing with money I get from New York state,” Mr. Denise said, specifically Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program, or CHIPS, funding that had not yet been used

Streets to avoid as much as possible over the next three days include Lanpher Street, Forest Avenue, Fairview Drive, River Street in two locations, James Street, Summit Avenue, Jefferson Street and Railroad Street.

The work was originally slated for June.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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