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LeRay beats big municipalities to take home state award for water district project

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The town of LeRay was a candidate sparring with the likes of Onondaga County when it submitted its Water District 4 project to be named the Environmental Project of the Year for the New York state chapter of the American Public Works Association.

The town’s project beat the big boys, earning LeRay officials and staff from Bernier, Carr & Associates, Watertown, a trip to the chapter’s award banquet April 11 in Geneva.

Supervisor Ronald C. Taylor was surprised that LeRay pulled off the feat with its water district project. But the $7.7 million project greatly improved the water quality for 520 households connected to the massive district comprised of 85,000 lineal feet of water mains. The three-year project was completed in the fall of 2012.

“It connects all four of our water districts together, and we can now flow water back and forth to assure water is available any time something breaks down,” he said.

“There were significant drinking water concerns, so this has been good for the town and everyone in the district,” engineer Kris D. Dimmick said. “The area has enjoyed steady residential growth, and I would expect you’re going to see that continue.”

Peter G. Vars, awards chairman for the APWA state chapter, called the project the “epitome of what public works is about.”

LeRay “took a situation where the public wasn’t being served adequately with water, and used public works to provide them with a safe and healthy source of water. And they interconnected the districts to be sure there was a redundancy in the system,” he said.

The village of Adams received the state chapter’s Environmental Project of the Year Award for rural communities with populations under 30,000 for restoring the G.L. Thomas & Sons Feed Mill and Laramie Tire site. The former feed mill and repair shop on North Main Street, demolished in 2008, is now used as parking for the village Fire Department. The village received a certificate of completion for its cleanup work from the state Department of Environmental Conservation in July.

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