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Sleepy Hollow Lake to revamp sewer plant

A view of the Sleepy Hollow Lake in Coxsackie and Athens from the Sleepy Hollow Lake residential community. SHL is the first private community to receive funding from Environmental Facilities Corporation. The community will use the $5 million to renovate its sewer plant.
April 11, 2019 10:02 pm

ATHENS — Sleepy Hollow Lake plans to use state financing to upgrade its sewer plant next year.

Sleepy Hollow Lake is a 2,200-acre residential community that straddles the Athens and Coxsackie town lines and surrounds a two and a half-mile man-made lake.

The community was approved for a short-term loan of $5,245,588 with an interest rate of 1.85% and maturity date of Oct. 23, 2023.

Sleepy Hollow Lake is the first private community to receive funding from the state’s Environmental Facilities Corporation Clean Water State Revolving Fund Financing.

“The EFC has been a pleasure to work with throughout this process,” Sleepy Hollow Lake Association Manager Laurel Wolfe said in statement Monday. “The community is thrilled to be able to receive funding through this program, especially with all of our redevelopment efforts. We’re relieved that our wastewater treatment plant will be able to handle any upcoming growth.”

Sleepy Hollow is moving forward with drafting plans for the project, Wolfe said Thursday.

“We hope to start construction in a year,” she said.

The project is expected to take the duration of the loan, Wolfe said.

“New York’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund is a critical component of Gov. Cuomo’s comprehensive plan to overhaul the state’s water infrastructure network by offering communities of all sizes flexible financing options to advance and implement wastewater and water quality improvement projects that would otherwise be cost prohibitive,” said Environmental Facilities Corporation President and CEO Sabrina Ty said in a statement. “EFC is proud to partner with Sleepy Hollow Lake to help upgrade this community’s treatment plant and help preserve, protect and improve water quality.”

Responsibility for seeking and obtaining grants funds fell to Sleepy Hollow’s leadership.

“As SHL owns and operates our own sewer treatment plant, it was incumbent upon us to seek funds for this improvement,” said Association of Property Owners President Ken Gifford.

Wolfe said she hopes to get the word out to other private communities that this funding is available.

The outdated infrastructure of the sewer plant is not related to the harmful algae blooms reported in 2018, Wolfe said.

“We were one of over 100 lakes in the state that had algae blooms,” Wolfe said. “They are related to weather conditions.”

The heavy rainfall and humidity last summer, in addition to the lake’s low turnover rate, caused the blooms, Wolfe said.

“The rain brings nutrients into the lake which then remain stagnant,” she said.

Sleepy Hollow also received a $10 million line of credit from the Bank of Greene County for infrastructure improvements, some of which will improve water quality, Wolfe said.

“We will be restoring femoral streams that feed the lake,” she said. “They have become eroded and they carry soil in. We are working to stabilize those channels.”

The improvements will lead to greater recreational opportunities on the lake, Wolfe said.

The sewer plant is segregated entirely from the lake, Wolfe said.

“Our sewer system is pressurized,” she said. “There is no septic system. Residents have grinder pumps at their homes which send their sewage to the plant.”

Sleepy Hollow hired Delaware Engineering as a consultant.

“It has been very rewarding working with SHL on the community’s infrastructure,” said Brock Juusola, senior engineer and partner with Delaware Engineering. “SHL’s stewardship of the environment and fiscal prudence are exceptional and lead to a high quality of life for residents.”