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$3 million in water supply improvements proposed in Town of Tonawanda

More than $3 million in water supply improvements has been proposed in the Town of Tonawanda, including replacement of a faulty waterline that brought dozens of residents out one year ago to appeal for help from the Town Board.

The waterline along Lowell Road, north of Hampton Parkway to Delaware Avenue, would be replaced. Last February, at least three residents of that street had no water service for weeks.

“Lowell Road residents came to this Town Board last year about issues they were having on their street regarding their waterlines,” Supervisor Joseph H. Emminger said at Monday’s meeting. “Our Water Resources Department went out and did an extensive study of the area and it was determined that their road had to be moved up on the list.”

The waterlines on Oakridge Avenue from Military Road to Elmwood Avenue, and on Chelsea Avenue from Parkhurst Boulevard to Montrose Avenue, would also be replaced.

The cleaning and painting of the interior and exterior of the Lincoln Park water tank accounts for $1.5 million of the project’s total $3.35 million price tag, Emminger said. He noted that $550,000 of that cost would be paid for by the town’s capital improvement fee, which was instituted about six years ago and is assessed to every property owner in the town to help fund improvements.

A public hearing on the proposed work will be held at the Town Board’s next meeting Feb. 22.

The discussion came after Emminger, at the beginning of Monday’s meeting, set out to reassure residents about the safety and quality of the town’s drinking water, in light of the lead crisis in Flint, Mich.

He noted that the town’s drinking water is “extremely safe and of the highest quality.” The town conducts daily testing and its water exceeds federal and state regulations, he said. In addition, there are no lead water mains in the town, like those found in Flint, he said.

Also Monday, the board announced that the Police Department will be using grants from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services to buy body cameras for officers. The grants cover $30,000 for the cameras and $88,000 for digital video storage, said Police Chief Jerome C. Uschold.

The department intends to purchase 70 cameras, one for every patrol officer and lieutenant, he said.

The department has not yet settled on a camera make and model, he said, but officers could begin wearing the cameras on a voluntary basis as early as this summer.