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Cattaraugus County stormwater demonstration site to debut May 22

LITTLE VALLEY – What is believed to be the first demonstration site on stormwater management is being developed in anticipation of a May 22 debut at the Cattaraugus County Department of Public Works.

The 100-acre facility is a joint venture between Southern Tier West, Cattaraugus County and 26 other partner agencies.

Work got underway Monday as excavators and volunteers worked to install components. A team of students from Alfred State University installed sections of sidewalk paving and parking lot.

On the other side of a hill, heavy equipment moved earth to create ditches – some varying in shape, others in liner material. The idea was to show the preferred and discouraged method of developing ditches.

Other demonstrations will focus on the impact of contaminants in retention ponds on groundwater.

“What we want is a slow, control ... of stormwater as it drains back into the ground,” Cattaraugus County Public Works Commissioner Joseph Pillittere said.

Ginger Malak, Southern Tier West senior regional development coordinator, said the site will attempt to show the most cost-effective and eco-friendly forms of wastewater management.

The demonstration site is designed so municipal representatives can decrease the volume of silt and erosion that flows into sanitary sewers and ditches and, inevitably, cut costs, Malak added.

Malak said the site is a valuable source for many – from highway superintendents, mayors and supervisors to contractors and even the average homeowner.

Howmeowners, she added, can install a rain garden to help filter and return stormwater to the ground.

Also, Planning and Zoning Board members will be eligible to earn four hours of continuing education credits.

The initial cost of the project was financed through a $37,050 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, as well as donations from regional business interests.

Future development includes the construction of kiosks to educate visitors on state-of-the-art stormwater management.

The site is open to visitors and Pillittere said tours can be arranged by calling his office at (716) 938-2483.