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Star Lake Water Systems Improvements

What was the Challenge?

The Towns of Fine and Clifton, located wholly within the New York Adirondack Park in the St. Lawrence County, have experienced devastating economic decline over the last 30 years resulting from the closure of several mills. In addition, the Towns have struggled with water shortages and infrastructure problems that threaten public health and safety and hinder the few businesses and institutions that remain in these communities. The Town of Fine has had to declare water emergencies in the past resulting in putting unfiltered water into the drinking water system. The lack of redundancy, condition of the infrastructure, and restricted water piping have often led to extended periods of time with no water service. This project, completed in January of 2019, provided improvements to their water treatment and distribution system supplied by surface water from Star Lake.

How did Barton & Loguidice provide a solution?

Following an exhaustive groundwater investigation, the Towns’ Joint Project Committee (JPC) made the recommendation to focus efforts on the existing use of Star Lake surface water as the community’s future drinking water source. This transition required extensive water treatment improvements.

Following evaluation of multiple treatment systems and pilot testing, the Towns decided on membrane filtration as a treatment method because of its small footprint and automation. The Town toured a membrane filtration plant and ultimately the WesTech membrane system was selected based on its design (ability to provide a state-of-the-art treatment technology), reliability and service (a longtime leader in the water industry), and cost (a price-point that the project budget would allow).

The water system serves the Hamlet of Star Lake and neighboring portions of the Town of Clifton. The previous water treatment building on the shore of Star Lake was converted into a raw water pumping station and storage; while the treatment process was moved across the street and upgraded to a state-of-the-art “ultrafiltration” water treatment facility. This new treatment facility is a pre-manufactured building complete with the full treatment process, a laboratory, a chemical room and bathroom.  The highlight of the upgraded water system is the new state-of-the-art filtration package plant that was delivered in January 2019 and placed in service in April 2019.

The existing distribution system, consisting mostly of mid 1900’s asbestos-cement pipe, was badly in need of replacement. Approximately 40,000 linear feet of PVC and HDPE water main was installed, in addition to completing the system loop around to the south-side of the lake. This provides all customers, including the school and hospital, with a more reliable system by removing long dead ends. A new 250,000-gallon glass-bolted-to-steel water storage tank was also constructed to replace the leaking welded steel tank. Finally, water service is being extended ~5 miles from Star Lake to the Hamlet of Newton Falls (i.e., Phase 2 improvements), allowing this neighbor to decommission their water treatment plant and sharing the benefits of this great new water treatment process.

Why was the project a success?

The new prefabricated water treatment facility came together as a result of collaboration between multiple groups across multiple states. The Star Lake community infrastructure project was essential for economic prosperity and public health. The project will bring sustainable drinking water standards that won’t need to be upgraded in the near-term. The automation features of the updated system allow for higher quality and efficiency for the sole water operator to maintain. All of the pieces of the project were completed under budget and on schedule, and the benefits will have a major positive impact on future generations.

Project At a Glance


New York


  • Water Supply Engineering

Project Awards

  • 2019 Water Resources Platinum Award from ACEC New York
  • 2019 New York Project of the Year from APWA
  • 2019 Project of the Year from AWWA New York

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