Chaumont projects target water issues

The village of Chaumont on a rainy day in October. Julia Hopkins/Watertown Daily Times

CHAUMONT — Village officials hope to remedy pipe freezing along Water Street, widespread temporary water loss during pipe repairs and other issues by completing multiple upcoming improvement projects.

Mayor Valerie E. Rust said the village Board of Trustees wants to begin replacing the almost 60-year-old pipes on both sides of Water Street by next spring. The project will benefit 15 single-family residences and two apartment buildings. The shallow lines are susceptible to freezing. At times when temperatures drop, Mrs. Rust said homeowners must constantly run water at a slow rate to prevent their pipes from freezing, which can raise operational costs for the village-wide system. The lines are also too small, she said.

“Not to mention the expense (for repairs) if they do get a frozen line,” Mrs. Rust said. “I’m hoping we can rectify the issues Water Street has.”

The village also hopes to add more shut-off water values and relocate them after replacing the Water Street pipes.

Workers use the valves to shut water flow to sections of the system whenever they need to repair pipes. The village, however has too few shut-off valves because when workers use one to repair a broken line, too many users, including businesses, temporarily lose water service, Mrs. Rust said. One time years ago when workers temporarily shut off water to perform repairs, it temporarily halted water service to Duck Stop Diner, the Crescent Restaurant and Bar and a nearby hostel, all on Main Street, she said. Adding more shut-off valves will reduce the number of affected users at any given time.

“(A 24-hour water shutoff) can pretty much put a restaurant in financial distress,” Mrs. Rust said.

A broken water main running along the bottom of the Chaumont River bed following Main Street will be replaced in the next couple of years.

When the state Department of Transportation replaces the bridge over the river on Main Street in 2022 and 2023, Mrs. Rust said workers will install a new water line underneath it to replace the underwater line that broke in 2011.

Mrs. Rust said users affected by the broken pipe were connected into the town of Lyme’s water system and the village pays for that connection. The Department of Health, however, demanded that the village replace the line so it could be used as a backup if another line owned by the Development Authority of the North Country that runs through the towns of Brownville, Lyme and Cape Vincent ever experienced issues, she said.

The village plans to finance all improvements, which have been several years in the making, with $1.5 million in loan financing and federal grant funding, Mrs. Rust said.

“The only thing that I feel warrants going with the river line replacement is the fact that we got funding to replace the Water Street lines and valves,” she said.

The village government has been exploring the possibility of dissolving, but Mrs. Rust said even if it disbands, the projects would still commence and only village users would pay for them.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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