Hyde Park may consolidate special water districts

Streamlining services through county control at heart of ongoing joint study

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Hyde Park is looking into consolidating its many water districts under a county umbrella.

The town currently operates nine separate water and/or sewer systems in various neighborhoods throughout the area.

That could all change pending the results of a joint study now underway with the Dutchess Water and Wastewater Authority (DCWWA).

In recent years, DCWWA has taken over the operation and maintenance of the central Hyde Park Water District, which runs along Route 9 to Staatsburg, and the Harbourd Hills district, east of Route 9G in the area of Haviland Junior High School.

The town still operates the Greenfield Water and Greenfield Sewer, Pinebrook Water and Pinebrook Sewer, Arbors Water, Violet Avenue Water, Quaker Hills Water, and the Vandenburgh Cove Water districts. It also has not yet dissolved the Harbourd Hills District, though DCWWA took over that district years ago.

The study is being funded by a $175,000 grant from the state, an additional $5,000 from the county, and Hyde Park is obligated to provide another $19,000 to complete it.

Ken Schneider, 4th Ward Councilman, told the Observer, “We were very happy to receive the grant and [DCWWA] is our lead agency to help us with the study to determine how we could improve and streamline water service to our special districts.”

Jonathan Churins, project facilitator for the county water authority, met with local officials — who appeared very receptive to the idea of consolidation — Jan. 13 to advise them on the efficiencies of streamlining the water services.

Emphasizing the benefits of consolidation, Churins said, “Putting your local systems under the operation of DCWWA provides a continuity of knowledge for these districts, whereas local boards often change every two years or so, and the Authority has the expertise to offer improved water supply and resources for these smaller districts.”

The study is evaluating each system currently operated by the town and is expected to help town officials decide on which district might affiliate with DCWWA.

Churins indicated that a progress report on the study would be available when the Town Board will revisits the consolidation topic at its next regular meeting Feb. 10.

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