Water Flows For North County Water Customers

Assemblyman Andy Goodell, Mayor Wilfred Rosas, Executive George Borrello and Richard Tobe, deputy director of state operations for special projects watch as Chairman Don Steger pulls the lever powering up the pump station on Route 5 and officially bringing the North Chautauqua County Water District on-line. P-J photo by Jo Ward

PORTLAND — Wednesday was an important day for Chautauqua County, as following decades of development and talks, the North Chautauqua County Water District (NCCWD) officially was brought on-line.

“This has been a building process,” Don Steger, Pomfret town supervisor and chairman of the NCCWD started. “I’m hoping this is just the start-off point. We’re now ready to bid out phase two of the project and head in an easternly direction. We need to keep this going to fortify our community.”

The NCCWD has a 40-year contract with the city of Dunkirk as the sole water supplier to the system. The project includes the installation of seven miles of pipe, a 500,000-gallon water storage tank in the village of Brocton and a pump station in the town of Portland.

With the water now being supplied from Dunkirk, the village of Brocton will begin to decommission their water reservoir and water treatment plant.

Phase two of the water district project calls for water mains to be constructed going east from the city of Dunkirk along Route 5 in the town of Sheridan, completing the transmission of water from the city of Dunkirk all the way to the village of Silver Creek border. This construction is slated for completion by the end of 2019 and includes the installation of a new water storage tank in Dunkirk.

“None of the municipalities involved could have afforded to do this project on their own. The only way we could do it was through shared services,” Steger said.

Shared services was the focal point of the comments from Richard Tobe, deputy director of state operations for special projects.

“There’s no doubt that sharing services saves money,” Tobe said. “In 2017, the state Legislature adopted a comprehensive shared services initiative that called on all counties to develop a shared services plan. Chautauqua County in many ways led the state by talking about three years of planning efforts — not just one — as most of the other counties had done. With submissions that’ll take place at the end of the month, 53 of the state’s 57 counties will adopt a shared services plan. In the first year, which was last year, we saw over 400 separate initiatives laid out for shared services.”

Accolades for the project poured out from the gathered representatives that were on hand to watch as the NCCWD board pulled the lever, powering the new pump station.

“This is a phenomenal success story involving the ability of multiple jurisdictions to come together with a single project that benefits everyone in different ways. It took everyone, working as a team, to make this a reality,” state Assemblyman Andy Goodell said.

“This is a huge leap forward to working with every municipality here in northern Chautauqua County to provide safe, reliable drinking water from the greatest source of natural fresh water in the world,” County Executive George Borrello added.

“The secret to this was about building trust, trust among communities, trust among representatives, trust with the engineers,” Vince Horrigan, former county executive said.

Thanks were given all around, to the representatives involved, Clark Patterson Lee and Kandey Construction Company for their engineering work and to Dr. Peter Reinelt, head of Economics at SUNY Fredonia, who was instrumental in the objective financial analysis of the project.