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Amenia Wastewater Survey anything but a waste of time

The Millerton News Editorial

A handful of people in Amenia have been hard at work for a long time, trying to solve the problem of how a business district without a modern central wastewater system can attract more merchants, restaurant owners and other business people to invest in their community.

The simple answer is it can’t. Which is why the Amenia Wastewater Committee (AWC), manned by volunteers and chaired by Jim Wright, decided to hire the engineering firm Tighe & Bond to conduct a feasibility study and assist with a Wastewater Survey.

The survey, which went live in early-December, seeks to learn “if a portion of the town would benefit from a community wastewater system.”

The AWC distributed the questionnaire to all property owners in Amenia, explaining in a letter that the “area under consideration only covers the center of Amenia, stretching north and south along Route 22, east along [Route] 343, west along [Route] 44.”

In other words, the AWC is smartly focusing on a section of town that includes its business district, with the Amenia Post Office, the Amenia Free Library, many of the town’s popular antique shops, retail stores, eateries, gas stations, real estate and attorneys’ offices and even its well-known drive-in movie theater.

The goal of the survey, according to the AWC?

“To map the borders of the wastewater district.”

The survey stated that: “A municipal sewage treatment system would address aging, substandard and under-sized septic systems and foster a more vibrant and thriving hamlet area.”

The committee added one of its initial acts in 2021 was to contact all business owners in the main hamlet of Amenia to see if they would support the creation of a new wastewater treatment system in the business district. The unanimous response from those business owners: they would.

Now the AWC is in its earliest phase of the feasibility study to see which parts of town would benefit the most from a wastewater system; where it would be most suitable to build a wastewater treatment facility; how much it would cost; and what grants and low-interest loans may be available to help pay for construction.

The committee said while it’s focusing on the center of town, it wanted to distribute the surveys town-wide, as all property owners have a stake in the project.

The AWC added in the letter notifying property owners about the survey that it felt it was important “to gauge the needs and interest throughout the entire community and to collect the concerns and questions of all residents.”

Committee members further detailed why filling out the questionnaire is so vital:

“Your response to the survey would also help the town to decide where to expand the system in the future.”

That last point is an important one, and a good reason for everyone in Amenia to make sure they complete the Wastewater Survey and not toss it aside thoughtlessly.

Speaking of which, committee members put a lot of thought into this survey, both its creation and its distribution.

So if you own property in the town of Amenia, please make a real effort to complete the survey and return it to the committee, either at the Amenia Town Hall or online, whichever is easier.

For more information on the survey, call the Town Hall at 845-373-8118, ext. 105 or ext. 108. You can even go to the Wassaic & Amenia Community Facebook page or to the Millerton Amenia Community Forum Facebook page, where there are links to the survey’s online version, or simply go to the town’s official website, at www.ameniany.gov.

Surveys may also be mailed back to Town Hall, physically dropped of at the town clerk’s office at Town Hall or at the secure mailbox outside the entrance to Town Hall, at 4988 Route 22, Amenia.

The goal here is simply to do the survey. It won’t take a lot of your time but it will mean a lot to the future of your community.

Sure, you’re probably exhausted from the holidays, which have just wrapped up. Many may be recovering from traveling or trying to get the kids back to their school-time routines; others may be dealing with the challenges of COVID or even just a nasty winter flu. We certainly hope it’s nothing too severe that might be stressing you out, but we understand for some this can be a busy and exhausting period.

We wish, instead, the New Year will be a time of peace, calm and joy for all of our readers, and that those who own property in Amenia will be afforded a few extra moments of serenity to complete the Wastewater Survey.

It may take a few years, but once you see the kind of impact having a wastewater system can make on a community like Amenia, we hope you’ll agree that doing the Wastewater Survey is worth the time and far from a waste of your energy.

 

For more information on the subject, please read this week’s article on Page A3 by Millerton News reporter Kaitlin Lyle.

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