Village of Massena looking to make water system improvements

Apr. 18—MASSENA — The village of Massena will serve as the lead agency for a State Environmental Quality Review of water system improvements to address future expansion, a project that could see the iconic Bowers Street water tower replaced.

Under the resolution approved by trustees, the village will serve as the lead agency "to conduct an environmental review of the project to develop redundant raw water supply, water treatment facility improvements, and Bowers Street water storage tank replacement to benefit users of the Village of Massena Water System. The project will provide improvements to the Village of Massena water systems."

Mayor Gregory M. Paquin said it was a case of pre-planning in the event of future water issues and to address future expansion.

"As we start working with Air Products, one of the concerns, and I use the term concern, is we do have a water line that feeds to the water treatment plant," he said.

However, if something went wrong with that line or if Alcoa had to undertake maintenance within the intake and had to shut the water down, that would create an issue, Paquin said.

"What this (project) would do is it would create a redundant line in case of emergencies. It's also going to help to allow for expansion out of town as the town starts to create more water districts or enlarge water districts," he said.

He said declaring the village as the lead agency for the SEQR was first step in submitting a grant application to the state by June 14. Trustees have commissioned LaBella Associates D.P.C. to prepare Part 1 of the Environmental Assessment Form for the project.

"So, we're just kind of getting ahead of this and declaring ourselves lead SEQR agency," Paquin said. "That's kind of where we are now. Air Products is aware. I spoke with Harry Johnston this morning. I think they kind of knew this was coming, so it wasn't a surprise. So, they'll do what they can to help us in terms of the grants."

Johnston is the Air Products director of large product business development.

Trustees had officially signed off on an agreement for the village to sell water to Air Products and Chemicals for the green hydrogen facility being built on Pontoon Bridge Road during their March meeting.

Air Products and Chemicals is developing approximately 84.4 acres of land on Pontoon Bridge Road for use as a hydrogen facility, to harvest up to 35 metric tons of green hydrogen daily using renewable power that will be supplied by the New York Power Authority.

The facility will produce liquid-hydrogen through electrolysis using the hydroelectric power. The company is investing about $500 million in the facility.

The process at the site will use approximately 1 to 1.2 million gallons of water a day, and the company plans to spend about $300,000 a year to purchase water from the village of Massena for the operation.

Land clearing has already started, and the company plans to start putting buildings on site starting in the spring so they can work indoors during the 2024 winter season. They plan to start wrapping up construction in 2025, with startup scheduled for March through August 2026. They hope to have everything wrapped up by the third quarter of 2026 with the project scheduled to be online by the first quarter of 2027.