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Larger sewers needed to end flooding, board told

Town of Tonawanda officials say the only solution to years of flooding in certain neighborhoods carries a price tag of nearly $9 million.

A two-phase project to replace more than 4,500 feet of sewer lines is estimated at $7.9 million, and an additional $1 million will be needed for dredging work to resolve drainage problems and accommodate the increase in water flow to Two Mile Creek.

John S. Camilleri, superintendent of the Water Resources Department, said the flooding problem appears to be getting worse each year. The incessant downpour Sunday night and into Monday flooded the area between Two Mile Creek and Sheridan Drive, including Desmond Terrace, Dupont Avenue and Oakview Drive. Officials said that typically occurs during any heavy rain.

"Neighbors said it's been going for many years, but in the last few years, it seems to be worse," Camilleri said.

He said studies have shown that the sewer lines are not large enough to handle the flow of water. The flooding on the streets sometimes can reach the vents of the sanitary sewers, causing basements to flood, he said.

"It's a major problem that has to be mitigated one way or another," he said.

Camilleri, who spoke to the Town Board at a recent work session, said the only way to resolve the problem fully is to enlarge the sewers. He would like to begin the project next spring.

But his suggestion received a lukewarm reception from board members concerned about the costs.

Councilman John J. Flynn asked whether that was the only solution and how many residents are affected.

Supervisor Ronald H. Moline said the issue needs further study to clarify ownership of the sewer lines since some of the streets are county and state roads.

But Camilleri said the population affected is sizable. And he said ownership is not an issue.

"I don't understand the confusion; we own them," he said. "Conveyance of our drainage is certainly our responsibility."

e-mail: esapong@buffnews.com

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