Tonawanda News

September 25, 2012

Sewer charges, projects hot topics

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Resident Kenneth Martin made a repeat appearance at the town’s board meeting Tuesday evening to dispute the town’s sewer billing practices after receiving a high bill this summer. 

Martin took issue Tuesday with Director of Water Resources Ken Maving’s cost estimation of individual irrigation meters that he provided during a presentation at the board’s meeting Sept. 12. 

Martin believes the meters would reduce his bill. 

But according to Maving, the cost for the meters would be about $500. 

“I got an estimate from Frank’s plumbing, which said the installation would be $225 and the meter $134 for a total of $359,” Martin said. “The only thing that doesn’t include is the town’s permit.”

But Maving said the estimation was missing more than just the permit.

“What he is forgetting about is a second outside meter reader which is a cost to the resident,” Maving said. “And the cost of an airbreak to protect the town’s distribution system from getting water from your lawn that is contaminated with fertilizer and pesticide. That’s how we got to the $500 figure.”

Town councilman Joe Emminger told Martin the board is still considering the possibility of allowing the individual sewer meters. 

“We meet Monday and we are hoping we can make a decision as to what way we are leaning toward,” Emminger said. “We have to meet with the building department, but we haven’t forgotten about you and the other residents.”

Maving also offered updates for the public and board on two ongoing sewer projects.

Maving said phase two of the Parker-Fries project is going well and the contractors are on schedule.

“They are moving pretty quick,” Maving said. “The soil conditions are good for them.” 

Construction, which began in August, is currently taking place on Fries Road between Koenig and Green Acres, but by the end of next week, crews should reach Glenalby Road. 

Work will then continue southward as weather permits. Maving said the contractor hasn’t decided whether he will work through the harshest winter months of January and February.

“His current schedule has a break at Christmas and starting up again at the end of February,” Maving said. “But it will depend on how things go until then.” 

The project will allow the town to carry more water through in wet weather conditions and get it away from drainage areas quicker. Phase two is expected to be complete by next fall. 

Maving also updated the sewer line project on Cleveland Drive and Orchard Drive. 

“All in all, we are a little bit behind schedule,” Maving said. “But we can still get done by the final finish date, which was set for Oct. 26.”

Maving said nine point repairs out of a scheduled 13 have been finished.  

According to Maving, eight water leaks have occurred as a result of the construction. 

“We might hear about that from residents,” Maving said. “But we think we have come up with a method to control them now.”

Work began on the project in the spring after residents’ complaints about storm water infiltration into the sanitary sewers resulted in a research project to determine the extent of the damage. 

With the use of smoke and dyes injected into the water system, 125 small separations between joints in the systems were identified on Orchard Drive, with another 42 on Cleveland. 

According to Maving, the separations were not significantly unusual considering the infrastructure is 50 or 60 years old. 

Bonding was approved for the $1.8 million project last September.

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.