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Clifton will run paper mill sewage facility short-term

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NEWTON FALLS — The state Environmental Facilities Corp. has given its approval to the town of Clifton to use money it allotted for the Newton Falls sewer project toward hauling costs and to run the sewage system of Newton Falls Fine Paper as an emergency measure.

“I don’t think we have any other choice,” Clifton Supervisor Charles R. Hooven said. “Relieved is the word.”

Fourteen households and a vacant church attached to the paper mill’s sewage facility were going to be left without service when the plant is shut down Thursday.

The town had thought it had more time to set up a stopgap solution of a holding tank to keep the homes with a sewer system until next year, when it will build a hamletwide facility.

The town secured $4.3 million in state and federal grants and loans to pay for the system.

The town had thought the EFC would allow it to use money from its part of the financing package toward the cost of hauling sewage from the holding tank, but the last-minute contract with the paper mill called into question use of any of the money for emergency purposes.

“The contract threw the whole thing up in the air,” Mr. Hooven said.

The arrangement with the paper mill will cost about $35,000. Details are still being worked out on who will run the plant’s system, Mr. Hooven said.

The town signed an order Tuesday to begin work on installing the holding tank.

The emergency system could be in place by the end of December, St. Lawrence County Public Health Director Lorraine B. Kourofsky said.

“Until then, they’re just going to keep the mill system open,” she said.

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