Message Bar
Close Message Bar

B&L Receives Best Firms to Work For Award

For the seventh consecutive year by Zweig Group Read More


8 Steps to a Successful Regionalized Project

February 16, 2022

Like most municipalities, there is a long list of upgrades that are needed to many components of the community’s infrastructure, such as the water treatment plant, water storage tower, wastewater treatment facility, DPW garage, and so on. Over time, some repairs often reveal a need for replacement. While communities are looking at sources of income and grants, others have been receptive to partnering with neighboring communities and opt for a regional approach. In 2021, Mark Hall, NYS Adirondack Park Commissioner, Water Operator, and Former Fine Town Supervisor joined Barton & Loguidice’s Chris Lawton, P.E. at the AWWA conference to share their North Country Story: A Tale of Two Communities.

The presentation featured the Town of Fine and Star Lake along with the Town of Clifton and Newton Falls. Mr. Hall provided much of the history of these communities and the industrial impacts and losses they’ve endured. He condensed what they’ve learned from the multi-year and multi-phase Water Systems Improvement Project into a list called the Top 8 Aspects of a Successful Regionalized Project:

  1. Mission and Goals: All parties involved need to come together to define a mission statement and goals for commonality of the project.

  2. Trust: There has to be trust by all parties. This includes cooperation and buy-in with operators and looking beyond the boundaries.

  3. Why? You must be able to answer the WHY questions early. Constituents will want to know what’s in it for them.

  4. Communication: Over communicate –it’s very important. Form a joint project committee and hold regular meetings often.

  5. Buy-in: Obtain buy-in from a regional government perspective (e.g., NYSDOH).

  6. Equality: There must be equal treatment of parties by the engineers/consultants. No favoritism can be displayed to one community over another.

  7. Project Attorney: It’s best to have one designated project attorney to ensure consistency.

  8. Transparency: The same information must be provided to everyone.


The presentation also covered some important lessons learned along the way. According to Mr. Hall, “having two boards only means double trouble.” The process worked much better by forming a Joint Project Committee. It is vital to determine who is responsible for what, in detail, before the project begins. Tackling small items or larger ones, like who is going to handle leak accountability? The Committee should also identify the ownership of the new infrastructure (e.g., purchasing water but still have distribution system to maintain). Having upfront involvement from the operator is critical, as well as addressing the As-Builts weekly at progress meetings. Lastly, be flexible, adapt and stay positive. In the end, all the communities were better for all the efforts everyone put in.

Water Resources

This article is from members of the Water Resources Practice Area.

Learn More