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Phase 2 targets basement flooding south of Sheridan

Ending basement flooding in the Town of Tonawanda's western residential neighborhoods was approached from one end last year.

The other end will be dealt with this year, according to plans described Monday night by John S. Camilleri, director of water resources.

The area in question involves residential neighborhoods south of Sheridan Drive. Runoff flows into a storm sewer that runs along Sheridan and ultimately spills into Two Mile Creek.

Camilleri said the drainage problem was highlighted during extreme flooding caused by rainy weather in 2000. Residents had been reporting basement flooding for years before that.

Crews first cleaned the storm sewers before taking a closer look at why the drainage system has not been working properly, Camilleri said. It turned out that the lines in that area are just 18 inches in diameter and, at 50 to 70 years old, nearing the end of their life span.

Last year, about $2 million was spent improving drainage in Sheridan Park Golf Course and stabilizing the creek banks. Phase 2 will focus on the size of the storm sewers.

"If nothing else, we would have to make this sewer larger," Camilleri said. A 60-inch line is anticipated for the stretch of Sheridan that runs west to east.

For the section of Sheridan that drains from the southwest to the northeast, the line would graduate in size. It would be smaller at the Kenmore Avenue end, where there are fewer houses.

Monday night, the Town Board agreed to retain El Team, based in the town, to do the engineering for the project. Its cost is not to exceed $296,010.

Camilleri said he anticipates that construction could begin this summer and be completed by early January. "That's a realistic schedule," he said.

Although Sheridan is a state highway, don't look for any financial help, Camilleri said, explaining that the state considers the storm sewer adequate for draining Sheridan.

Also, don't expect anything from Erie County, which owns Kenmore Avenue -- also a part of the drainage system, so Town Supervisor Anthony F. Caruana said help is being sought from the federal level.

"This is one of the projects we put on the president's stimulus plan," Caruana said. "We hope this is one of the projects that will be funded through federal dollars."

If not, lawmakers took pre-emptive action last March, when the Town Board adopted a capital-improvement fee of $5.10 per quarter for homeowners to pay for improvements to the town's aging water system.

In addition to this project, the main sanitary sewer for the eastern half of the town needs to be replaced. Engineering work for that job should be finished this spring, with the start of construction projected for next spring.

e-mail: jhabuda@buffnews.com

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