Amenia Town Board considers presentation by water engineers

AMENIA — Seeking to assess the current status of the district water system that serves the town and to look to the future, the Town Board heard a presentation from a civil engineering firm at its regular meeting on Thursday, May 16.

Representing Delaware Engineering, based in Red Hook, was Mary Beth Bianconi from the Albany office, specializing in water and wastewater systems. She noted that her specialty is in infrastructure planning, including community water systems.

Following review of the various levels of governmental regulations, she said that project financing is an important part of her company’s service to municipalities. She reported a recently passed state Water Infrastructure Improvement Act that the town could benefit from, in addition to the federally available programs.

Reporting preliminarily on the configuration of the local water system, Bianconi said that the town is served by four ground water wells located on two sites. Two wells on Lavelle Road produce 40 gallons a minute, pumped to a 20,000-gallon storage tank. But the wells are located in proximity to a lake.

Up to 18,000 feet of pipe of a variety of materials and age serve the water district, Bianconi reported, with pressure averaging 28 psi (pounds per square inch), lower in some locations.

Immediate needs, Bianconi said, include the testing of the Lavelle Road wells for ground water quality and any possible impact from surface water seeping into the system.

In past action, the Town Board has agreed to create a plan for water testing, examining it for microbial particulate that could be present in surface water. In addition, local surface piping would need to be tested for lead, given the age of some of the pipes.

“A more robust examination of the entire system is needed,” Bianconi said, indicating that the assessment work will lead to an engineering report, which will lead in turn to a capital improvement project.

“Right now, the town’s water quality is fine,” Bianconi assured the town board.

“An engineering report will devise a more efficient plan,” said Town Supervisor Leo Blackman.

Councilman Brad Rebillard asked about water pressure. Bianconi reported that the water comes from pipes that extend 200 feet below surface and the water is piped up to a tank with a steel exterior and a glass lining.

The early morning hours, between 6 and 9 a.m., see the greatest demand, dropping the water level within the tank, and accordingly dropping the pressure. An ideal pressure is 40 psi, while 20 psi is the minimum desirable.

Some people in town have too high a pressure measurement, and some people, too low. Bianconi recommended a hydraulic study.

To Rebillard’s question about water testing, Bianconi said that the study engineers would test the water as it comes from the wells, before the regular treatment process occurs.

Latest News

All kinds of minds at Autism Nature Trail

Natalia Zukerman playing for a group of school children at the Autism Nature Trail.

Loren Penmann

At Letchworth State Park in Castile, N.Y. the trees have a secret: they whisper to those who listen closely, especially to those who might hear the world differently. This is where you can find the Autism Nature Trail, or ANT, the first of its kind in this country, perhaps in the world. Designed for visitors on the autism spectrum, the ANT is a one-mile looped trail with eight stations at various intervals, little moments strung together, allowing visitors to experience everything from stillness to wild adventure.

The idea for the ANT was born from a conversation in 2014 between Loren Penman, a retired teacher and administrator, and her neighbor. The two women were discussing the new nature center at the park and Penman’s neighbor said that her grandson, who loved the park, probably wouldn’t be able to enjoy a nature center. He had autism and at age seven was still without language and in a state of almost constant agitation. Her neighbor went on to say, however, that she had observed her grandson finding great calm at Letchworth, a state of being he couldn’t achieve almost anywhere else. Speaking to another friend with an autistic grandchild, Penman heard the same sentiment about Letchworth; it completely calmed her grandchild. What was it about this special place that soothed the spirit?

Keep ReadingShow less
Snakes in the Catskills: A primer

The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in collaboration with the Catskill Science Collaborative, presented “Snakes in the Catskills: A Primer,” the latest in its lecture series, on June 5. Presenter John Vanek, is a zoologist at the New York Natural Heritage Program in Syracuse, NY. The snake above is a harmless Northern Brown Snake. They are known as a “gardener’s friend” because they eat snails, slugs, and worms.

John Vanek

The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in collaboration with the Catskill Science Collaborative, presented “Snakes in the Catskills: A Primer,” the latest in its lecture series, on June 5. Presenter John Vanek, is a zoologist at the New York Natural Heritage Program in Syracuse.

There are thirteen kinds of snakes in the Catskills. Only two are venomous. Vanek defined the Catskills area as including the counties of Greene, Delaware, Ulster, Sullivan, and Dutchess.

Keep ReadingShow less
Brunch at Troutbeck: Black Emmer Pancakes

Black Emmer Pancakes by Chef Vincent Gilberti at Troutbeck.

Jim Henkens

At Troutbeck, every meal is an experience, but Sundays have taken on a special charm with the highly anticipated return of brunch. Impeccably sourced, plentiful, elegant yet approachable, and immensely satisfying, the brunch menu reflects the essence of Troutbeck’s culinary philosophy. Available every Sunday, brunch complements the existing offerings of three meals a day, seven days a week, all open to the public.

The culinary program at Troutbeck is led by Executive Chef Vincent Gilberti, who honors the natural landscape through thoughtful and seasonal cuisine. “We launched brunch in February,” said Chef Vinny, as he’s affectionately known. “It’s been a goal of mine to add brunch since returning to Troutbeck as executive chef last year. Before my time here and before the pandemic, we had a bustling and fun brunch program, and while we’ve all returned to ‘normalcy,’ brunch was something we wanted to get back in the mix.” Chef Vinny hails from the Hudson Valley and brings with him a wealth of experience from some of New York City’s most celebrated restaurants, including Pulino’s, Battersby, and Dover. After a stint in San Francisco’s SPQR, where he honed his pasta-making skills, Chef Vinny has returned to Troutbeck with a renewed passion for the farm-to-table philosophy.

Keep ReadingShow less