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Town hires firm to report on overflows

Cheektowaga has hired an engineering firm to prepare a report on how the town will comply with a state order to eliminate its sewer overflows.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has been monitoring the town's sewer system overflows with State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits for 10 years, Town Engineer William Pugh said.

"We've been able to reduce the number of overflows from 35 to 16," he said.

But the state is pressing municipalities to eliminate their overflows.

"It's our time for a consent order," Pugh said.

The Town Board hired Nussbaumer & Clarke following an executive session on the issue last week. The board authorized spending up to $97,000 on the report without further Town Board approval.

Cheektowaga's sewage treatment system dates to the 1920s, Pugh said. Plants were expanded in the 1930s and 1940s, and Cheektowaga eventually signed contracts with Buffalo and Erie County sewer authorities to treat the town's sewage.

But there are contractual limits on how much waste can be treated, Pugh said.

"Our community has struggled for years and years and years," he said.

Reports completed in the 1970s forecast the need to construct overflow retention facilities to temporarily hold sewage following a rainstorm. During storms, rainwater seeps into the sewage system through leaky pipes and illegal hookups, increasing the amount of water to be treated. An overflow retention facility would capture the waste water and hold it until the treatment system has room.

Pugh said the engineering firm will help with the gathering of information and analysis of flows as well as financing possibilities that are necessary before identifying solutions.

"We have to sit down and analyze potential solutions and select projects that will lead to the abatement of the overflows," he said. "This is a commitment that will extend into many years."

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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