Tonawanda News

August 24, 2012

Town residents leery of sewer project's impact

By Jessica Bagley ,
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Residents voiced their concerns about phase two of the massive Parker-Fries sewer project Thursday night at a public meeting held at Kenmore East High School. 

Water and Sewer Maintenance General Chief Kirk Rowland assured residents he would be responsive to their problems throughout construction, which should take about 18 months. 

“There is nothing worse than something going on around your home and not being able to get a hold of us,” Rowland said. “We go out of our way to make sure residents know what’s going on.” 

Despite his assurances, meeting attendees were still worried about how the construction, which began Monday, will affect their daily routine and their properties.

“I’ve been living in a construction area since the beginning of this,” Steven Lindke, of Lynbrook Avenue, said. 

Even though phase two doesn’t directly affect Lindke’s street, the area in front of his home is a staging ground for the project. 

“They are dumping gravel, and the noise and the mess that I have to personally deal with is horrible,” Lindke said.

Robert Sherman, of Koenig Circle, echoed Lindke’s complaints.

“They come by and dump things at the crack of dawn,” Sherman said. “Machines go by and shake our entire house. Our foundation is shoddy at best to begin with, and we wanted someone to come out and look at it, but no one ever did.”

Rowland told Sherman and the rest of the meeting attendees to call him at his office, or call the project’s hotline at 362-8800, if they have any problems, and someone from the town will come down to resolve them. 

“If you have any anxiety about your property, we will come down and talk to you one-on-one,” Rowland said.

Other residents raised concerns about walking down streets in the area, an unfavorable smell coming from the sewers and about motorists who drive recklessly around the detour barriers and even move them to drive down closed roads.

“Someone drove between a fir tree and a house just to get around the barriers,” Rowland said.

Town officials advised residents to call the police department with the driver’s license plate number if they witness anyone moving or ignoring barriers.

Rowland explained to residents that the aim of the project is to allow the town to carry more water through in wet weather conditions, and get it away from drainage areas quicker. The project isn’t expected to cause problems with residents’ water and sewer systems at their homes, but Rowland told residents to call the town if that does occur. 

The construction is beginning at Fries Road and Koenig Road, and will continue south to Ogden Road. Town officials outlined a tentative construction schedule at a meeting Thursday — the work should reach Green Acres Road by the second week of October, Glenably Road by the third week of November and Yorkshire Road by Christmas. The work will then slow down heading into the winter. 

Despite a later start to the construction than originally hoped for, Water Resources Department Head Ken Maving said the project will be done by next fall. 

Construction crews will often work 10-hour days, five days a week, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., but construction could take place 24 hours a day and on Saturdays if needed. 

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