Initially constructed at a cost of $8,000,000 in 1976, the three basic elements of the Bolton Point water system are: (1) the intake system, (2) the water treatment plant, and (3) the transmission system.
The intake system consists of a 36-inch diameter intake pipe that stretches 400 feet out into Cayuga Lake to a depth of 60 feet and the raw water pump station located on the shore. The station has three pumps with a combined rated capacity of 9 MGD (million gallons per day) and has room for the addition of a fourth pump. There is a 20-inch diameter pipe running from the pump station up to the water treatment plant, a rise of about 270 feet, and a distance of about 1800 feet.
The water treatment plant contains a chemical storage room, flocculation tanks, settling tanks, filter tanks, a storage well, a control room and a pump room. The pump room has three pumps that raise the water another 360 feet to the Burdick Hill storage tank, a distance of approximately 3200 feet. The plant is designed to process 9 MGD of water, and its capacity can easily be increased to 12 MGD or more. Provision has been made for the eventual expansion of the system to 24 MGD, if needed.
The transmission system is made up of the Burdick Hill initial storage tank of 1.5 million gallons capacity, the Oakcrest Road pump station, and over 10 miles of 16" to 20" transmission pipeline running from the treatment plant through East Ithaca to its termination point at the Pearsall Place pump station on South Hill. This transmission line ties together the five municipally owned distribution systems that the Bolton Point plant was built to serve.
The system was planned for efficient operation. This is evidenced by the fact that the treatment plant operation, all transmission and distribution pipeline maintenance, and meter reading is accomplished by just 19 full-time employees. The plant, all 24 storage tanks, 20 pumping stations and 34 main pressure reducing valves are operated by automated remote control devices to assure constant monitoring, adequate supply, and proper quality standards. The Southern Cayuga Lake Intermunicipal Water Commission operates the system, which is owned jointly by the Towns of Dryden, Ithaca and Lansing, and the Villages of Cayuga Heights and Lansing. Each municipality is entitled to two seats on the Commission, one of which must be filled by a member of the Town or Village Board, the other by an appointed citizen from the community.