Real Progress On Sewers

Recently, the county received notice that the state of New York had approved an additional $3 million toward the cost of extending sewers up the west side of Chautauqua Lake as far as Stow. This means that the South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer Districts (the “district”) can now begin, in earnest, final plans for design and construction.

There are a lot of people who can take credit for this very positive announcement including our governor, state senator, the county executive, assemblyman, and local elected and government officials concerned about the lake. However, my own observation is that a lot of the driving force behind this effort has been the quiet, relentless work of Pierre Chagnon — the county legislator who represents both the town of Ellery and the town of North Harmony. It is his district, consisting of townships on both sides of lake, which will be most impacted.

The need to complete sewers around the lake is self-evident. Many of the small parcels that face the water are just not large enough or have adequate soil conditions to have both a water well and septic system on site. Septic systems need space and there is just not enough land to create needed leach fields. Also, even the most up-to-date septic systems do not have a means of removing phosphorous from the waste stream.

So where do we go from here? The next step is for the district to contract for final engineering drawings which is expected to be accomplished in 2019. The projection is that the actual construction of the sewer extension will begin early in 2020. The main trunk-line of the sewer will be along the Route 394 right-of-way from around the Ashville BOCES school to the hamlet of Stow. Lateral lines will be built toward the Lake to bring raw sewage up to the main line. The effluent will flow and be pumped to the existing sewage treatment plant in Celoron, thus taking it away from the Lake.

Though this construction phase will end at Stow, the pipe being laid will be large enough to eventually extend the sewer all the way to Prendergast Point thus completing sewers all along the west side of the lake.

We have been waiting a long time for this. There will be hills and valleys (ups and downs) to cross before it is done. But, as the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in day!” And who knows, maybe the federal government will follow the lead of New York State and finally begin funding the infrastructure program there has been so much talk about so that funds will be available to finish building sewers around the whole lake.

There is now light at the end of the tunnel. The task of building sewers that will completely surround Chautauqua Lake has begun.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.