From Dan Ward:
There is a letter posted on the Town’s website from Jeffrey D. Angeil, Amherst’s Assistant Municipal Engineer. It was recently sent to Richard Rink P.E. at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in Buffalo. It’s good for transparency – however its all gobbledy-gook “engineerese” to the uninitiated.
Basically it’s the Town telling the state how it’s fixing the problems with the sewer plant. The state inspected the plant and found it to be in violation of its NYS DEC permit- the permit is what allows the TOA – who owns the plant – to discharge treated sewage into Tonawanda Creek, which flows into the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence Seaway, Atlantic Ocean, and then the world. No permit, no discharge. Screw up on your permit, you (us) can be fined. Or the state slaps your hand, and the Town “consents” to an order to remedy.
I think what we really need to know is the nature and extent of the violations, and why they were allowed to exist to begin with. This is a management issue for the Supervisor – Engineering Dept runs the plant – his responsibility – an Executive Branch Department – I know – I used to sit in his Chair. Maybe if he wasn’t still practicing medicine several days a week he would be on top of this.
Don’t you think we should know how much this mismanagement has cost us? How about a taxpayers’ lawsuit for waste and fraud to recover “our” loss?
This has been hidden out there – on the website – in plain sight – hoping no one will notice. How about an accounting of the Supervisor’s (not some employee’s) responsibilities here??? This sort of incompetence and mismanagement should be an issue in the 2015 Amherst Town elections.
Response from Martin Gugino:
The last page is a spreadsheet that shows that substantial repairs have been ongoing since 2011 – of the order of millions of dollars per year.
Parts of the plan have been discussed at the Town Board. I think at our first meeting, Mr. Marlette said to Charlie that there is no chance that the Town would knowingly accept fracking waste, as the town was embarked on this long expensive project of fixing prior neglect and had no intention of jeopardizing that effort.
Reply from Dan Ward:
This is a real environmental time bomb IMO …the original plant was built with about 90% Federal money (still ours, but a different pocket) back in early 70s…it was supposed to serve Amherst, Clarence and Newstead…that governance agreement has never really been hammered out ..they doubled the capacity some time back but it was all a paper exercise …nothing new was built, the numbers were just changed…its an item that no one seems to understand, nor wants to talk about…the way the plant is constructed, upstream from Tonawanda town and city, they would be the chief complainants – or should be – but I have never heard them – when we screw up. Getting cited for a violation of permit is a BIG deal…should not happen…the Town should be pressing Congressmen Higgins and Collins for more Federal aid, maybe get some of that $urplus Cuomo has now to reconstruct …but you never hear a peep…out of sight, out of mind. Supposing some environmental lawsuit was filed against the town for downstream damage from fracking or just regular pollution…??? One of the ways a permit can be violated is the discharge of untreated sewer water into Tonawanda Creek…which you could be fined for if you did it as a homeowner, the Town can do it – on a much bigger scale- after a big rainstorm event. We need more capacity at the WWTF to prevent this, and even more as the Town, and Clarence continue to grow..And a local law to prevent taking fracking waste water ….there is some history here, albeit not fracking waste per se, but the Town did accept wastewater used in the process when the Bass Island gas field was opened up in Chautauqua County, it processed as a fee item for profit…
From Maratin Gugino:
Dan, I accept everything you say, but everyone knows that the City of Buffalo dumps untreated sewage into the River when storm water drives the system flow over capacity. How does that figure in, or are they “grandfathered” in some way, or do they have some kind of ongoing plan for remediation?
For my information, is Buffalo’s sewage treatment plant on the island previously known as Squaw Island? How convenient for them. The river is right there.