Village of Cambridge NY Logo
Village of Cambridge, NY

Wastewater Improvements Project

"The Village of Cambridge, New York, is taking its environmental responsibilities seriously, and the lack of a public sewer system is not a reflection of neglect. The Village recognizes the importance of developing a public sewer system, and efforts are underway to address the issue and support economic growth and the quality of life for residents." 
Wastewater Improvements Timeline and History

Early Wastewater History

In the 1970s, it was discovered that many septic systems were directly polluting local waterways, such as the Owl Kill and Cambridge Creeks. In response, the Village explored the feasibility of a public sewage system, but the cost was deemed too high and funding was not available. Property owners were required to establish their own septic systems to stop the pollution.

A comprehensive plan developed in 1974 called for the construction of collection facilities and a treatment plant, with the expectation of financing from federal and state grants. The estimated cost of the sewer system was $1.5 million, with 60% to be funded by grants and the rest by a revenue bond issue. However, the plan was ultimately abandoned due to the cessation of grant funding and concerns about the location of the treatment plant and its financial burden on taxpayers.

Over the years, there have been several studies done on the feasibility of a public sewer system in the Village of Cambridge. One such study, conducted by Morrell Vrooman Engineers in the late 1960s, recommended the construction of a collection system serving many residential users and other types of uses, with a secondary treatment plant. The 1974 comprehensive plan suggested that public sewers should eventually serve the entire built-up area of the village.

Despite the past efforts, a public sewer system has yet to be established in Cambridge. Concerns about the financial burden on taxpayers, the responsibility for maintenance, and equity issues continue to be a challenge.

Wastewater Improvements Timeline

2015-Present Wastewater History

Village Sewer Frequently Asked Questions

How Did We Get Here?

So, this has been a long time in planning, what has happened over the past 5-7 years to move this project forward and what public meetings were held on the subject?

What is a low pressure sewer system?

What is the Estimated Project Cost?

What Funding Has Been Secured?

What other funding is available to help reduce the cost further?

How is the cost to a homeowner determined?

What’s the difference between loan repayment costs and operating costs of public sanitary sewers?

How will residents be billed for municipal sewer

Where will the WWTP be located?

How long will the project take to complete?

Do I have to hook up?

Who will be responsible for the grinder pump purchase and installation?

Who will be responsible to maintain the grinder pump?

How much does it cost to operate a grinder pump?

Who is responsible for the decommissioning of my septic, installation of the sewer laterals, and connection?

What is a Bond Resolution?

What is a permissive referendum

If a resident did not attend the board meeting at which a bond resolution was adopted, how would they even know that they could petition to have a referendum on it?

Resources and Helpful Links
Laberge Group brand logo

As one of the leading consulting firms in the region, the Laberge Group brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the project, and we are confident that they will deliver a high-quality solution that meets the needs of our community.

For those who may not be familiar with the Laberge Group, they are a full-service consulting firm that offers planning, engineering, and project management services to municipalities, government agencies, and private organizations. Their team of professionals has a proven track record of delivering successful projects in various fields, including water resources, transportation, and community development.

To learn more about the Laberge Group and their approach to the Wastewater Improvements Project, we encourage you to visit their website at There, you will find detailed information on their services, past projects, and the team of experts who will be working on our project.

Visit Laberge Group

Lead Agency
To ensure that the project is carried out with environmental sensitivity and consideration, the board sought to be established as the lead agency for the coordinated review of this action with any involved and interested agencies. The board prepared a Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) in accordance with the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and circulated a Notice of Intent to be Lead Agency to all involved and interested agencies for their comments.

The board passed a resolution to classify the project as a Type I action under the SEQRA standards, with the intention of declaring themselves as lead agency for the coordinated review of the action. The board also directed the coordination of intent for lead agency designation with all involved agencies through the service of a notice of intent.

In addition, the board passed a resolution authorizing the Mayor to develop and submit an application for funding for up to 25% of the project cost through the New York State Water Infrastructure Improvement Act (NYWIIA). The application requires evidence of project readiness, including a plan of finance and bond resolution, engineering report, engineering contract, and legal contract for services. Upon award of the NYWIIA grant, the Mayor is authorized to enter into separate agreements with the Laberge Group and legal counsel for the provision of engineering and legal services associated with the wastewater improvement project.

View The Lead Agency Declaration

Negative Declaration
The Village Board declared its intent to be the lead agency for the Cambridge Wastewater Improvements Project. The project involves the installation of a sewage collection system and treatment facility in the village.

The board evaluated the project's environmental impact and determined that it will not have any significant adverse environmental impacts. The board also authorized the village clerk to file the negative declaration in accordance with the applicable provisions of state law.

In addition, the board authorized the issuance of general obligation serial bonds or a statutory installment bond, in lieu of serial bonds, in the aggregate principal amount not to exceed $27,000,000. The bonds will be used to finance the acquisition, construction, and installation of a municipal wastewater collection and treatment system.

View The Negative Declaration

2022 USDA Environmental Assessment
The USDA conducts Environmental Assessments (EAs) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of its actions.

EAs consider a range of factors and provide information on the environmental consequences of proposed actions, including any possible mitigation measures.

Public feedback is important during the EA process.

If a proposed action is found to have significant environmental impacts, the USDA may be required to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The goal of an EA is to ensure that the USDA makes well-informed decisions that balance economic, social, and environmental impacts and promote sustainable agriculture and rural development while protecting our natural resources for future generations.

2022 USDA Environmental Assessment

2004 Comprehensive Plan
The 2004 Comprehensive Plan for the Village of Cambridge highlights the crucial role of sewer and water infrastructure in the development of the community. The plan states that the lack of a public sewer system is a limiting factor for the reuse and intensification of structures along Main Street. As such, the plan recommends that the village initiate an effort to develop a public sewer system as a priority action.

Similarly, the lack of a village sewer system is an issue for homeowners as small housing lots in the traditional community are not suited for individual septic systems. The privately-owned water system also does not serve all residents in the village, many of whom rely on wells for drinking water. To address these concerns, the comprehensive plan suggests that the village work on developing a public sewer system and upgrade the water system in collaboration with the water company.

The comprehensive plan also recognizes the significance of sewer and water infrastructure in promoting economic growth and attracting businesses to the area. The lack of a public sewer system limits potential economic growth in the village, hence the plan recommends the development of a public sewer system as a priority.

The industrial district in the village has room for growth and low-impact industrial activities are desired due to the close proximity to residential and commercial areas. 

The 2004 Comprehensive Plan recognizes the importance of sewer and water infrastructure in shaping the future of the Village of Cambridge. The plan recommends the development of a public sewer system as a priority action and the upgrading of the water system to support economic growth and improve the quality of life for residents.

View The 2004 Comprehensive Plan

Recreation Economy for Rural Communities (RERC)
In 2019, the Trump Administration’s Executive Order on Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service and the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) announced that Cambridge was selected as 1 of 10 communities under the Recreation Economy for Rural Communities assistance program to help revitalize their Main Streets through outdoor recreation.

This community action plan focuses on regional connectivity, including wastewater management.

Participants engaged in brainstorming sessions to identify potential actions to advance goals, followed by prioritization and flushing out details of the top actions.

Action 3.6 involves working with neighbors to address the need for wastewater treatment, while Action 4.1 focuses on creating a regional wastewater system through collaboration with neighboring municipalities.

This plan is crucial for public health and the growth of local businesses, and will help align regional priorities and leverage unique outdoor recreation amenities.

View the RERC Action Plan

United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Department of Agriculture
US Department of agriculture Forest Service
Northern Boarder Regional Commission