Cheektowaga, NY Senator Tim Kennedy, Assemblymember Monica Wallace, Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowsi, and Sloan Mayor Thomas Ferrucci announced today that Cheektowaga has received another $5 million state grant through the Water Quality Improvement Program (WQIP), while Sloan has received $4.3 million through the same program. This is Cheektowagas third $5 million grant for sewer improvements, totaling $15 million in grants and another $15 million in zero-interest loans. Meanwhile, the Village of Sloans $4.3 million grant comes on the heels of a $1.5 million grant. Combined, the two grants to Sloan will enable the village to fully complete the relining and/or replacement of all deficient sewers in their system, allowing them to significantly reduce their inflow and infiltration, commonly known as I/I.
Cheektowaga has relined over 30% of its sewers under a consent order from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, with 86 out of a total 237 miles completed. The grant will allow the town to reline another 30 miles of sanitary sewer. This massive project aims to reduce the amount of diluted raw sewage that enters area waterways when the sewer system is overloaded by precipitation. In areas that have been remediated by the town, outflows have decreased by roughly 75 million gallons. Sloans project will reline over ten miles of sewers, while replacing over one mile of piping. They will also rehabilitating 336 manholes, including brick repair and lining.
This is a big day for our local waterways, said Senator Tim Kennedy. Ive worked with Cheektowaga and the State for years on this project, and I know that Cheektowaga is committed to getting the job done. With this funding, its clear that the state is in it for the long haul too. Its critical that state funding help cover the cost of this massive project, both in order to protect local taxpayers, and to ensure that there are no delays in continuing this important project. I also want to applaud Mayor Ferrucci for his tenacious dedication to securing every possible nickel and dime for the Village of Sloan to ensure they have the funding they needed to meet the obligations of their consent order with the state.
"The Town of Cheektowaga and the Village of Sloan have each been working diligently to upgrade aging and environmentally hazardous water infrastructure," said Assemblymember Monica Wallace. "This $9.3 million state investment through the Clean Water Infrastructure Act is vital to our region. With cracked pipes allowing raw sewage to infiltrate ground water and sewers working over capacity, the work being done by Cheektowaga and Sloan to address these problems is critical to the environmental health of all of Western New York. While todays funding announcement is critical, there is more work to be done. I will continue working with my municipal and state colleagues to address environmental concerns to ensure that Western New York is a healthy community for generations to come."
Cheektowaga has been relining our sanitary sewers at an incredible rate and we are seeing positive results because of this work, said Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski. Â This is a monumental challenge for our town, but we have been working collaboratively with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, our local partners and stakeholders for many years to develop and enact a plan to eliminate the inflow and infiltration of storm water into our sanitary sewers and subsequently reduce the overflow of raw sewage into our local waterways. Â The work we are doing now would not be possible without the support and advocacy of Senator Tim Kennedy and Assemblymember Monica Wallace as this most recent grant will once again help reduce the financial burden on our taxpayers. Cheektowaga remains committed to doing our part to protect our environment and waterways for future generations - this grant will go a long way in doing this.
"Improving the Village's infrastructure is a top priority for my administration, said Sloan Mayor Thomas Ferrucci. Partnering with Senator Kennedy and Assemblywoman Wallace in obtaining the necessary funding through grant opportunities, reduces the financial burden for our residents while addressing the DEC Order on Consent. Further, working collaboratively with Supervisor Benczkowski and the Town of Cheektowaga has been critical during project planning and development."
Under a Consent Order that has been agreed to by the State, the Federal Government, and the Town of Cheektowaga, the town is required to improve and modernize their sewage treatment system in order to reduce sewer overflows that result in raw sewage draining into area waterways. The consent order calls for the town to prioritize the elimination of I/I. Infiltration refers to water that has improperly entered the sewer system through deficiencies such as cracked and damaged sewers, while inflow refers to improper connections to the sewer system, such as illegal downspout connections. The DEC has expressed a preference for this problem to be addressed before assessing the need for additional sewage capacity. I/I results in increased amounts of water in the sewage system during heavy rain, resulting in an overload to the system that must be alleviated by releasing untreated diluted sewage into area waterways.