Sewer Work On Lake’s West Side Is Progressing On Schedule

We are writing in response to the Oped (“Sewer Project Hits A Snag”) by Rolland Kidder publi shed in the July 7, 2019 issue of The Post-Journal. As Chairman or the Administrative Board of the South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer Districts and Chairman or lhe Board’s Technical Commitlee. respectively, we are compelled to correct the apparent misunderstandings evident in his op-ed and to set the record st raight for your readers.

It is important to realize that Mr. Kidder does not speak for the districts. He has never been a member of the districts’ Administrative Board, and the information contained in his July 7 article was not obtained by him in any formal dialogue with the districts’ management, staff or Administrative Board.

Mr. Kidder said it had been his “hope” that construction of the west side sewer extension from its current terminus ncar the Ashville BOCES to Stow could begin in 2020. The districts’ staff and board members, along with employees of various in vo lved county departments, have done far more than merely “hope.” Rather, they havc worked diligently toward that end. Mr. Kidder incorrectly blames the delay of construction until 202l on a combination of bureaucracy and “changing horses in the middle of the stream.”

In doing so, he states that “the former engineering tirm lost out to a new company.” There was no ” former engineering firm.” During the more than 30 years that we have been actively involved with the districts, there have been several different engineering finns contracted by the districts for many different projects.

As county sewer districts, we follow the county’s established procedure for determining which engineering firm is selected for a particular project. That procedure involves developing and sending out Requests for Proposals (RFPs), which solicit proposals from various engineering finns. Proposals submitted by qualified firms are reviewed, in this case by a team composed of members of the districts’ Technical Committee and by the director and members of the engineering staff of the county Department of Public Facilities.

Following the review and discussion, the districts’ Technical Committee recommended one firm to the districts’ Administrative Board, which approved the recommendation. Contrary to Mr. Kidder’s statement, the firm selected was not a “new company.” In fact, that company has done engineering work for the districts in the past and is currently involved in an important project required to meet new state Department of Environmental Conservation standards at the districts’ treatment facility in Celoron.

The article also stated that “the new engineering firm had to learn about the lake” and “had to be brought up to speed.” While this project will certainly benefit the lake, knowledge of the lake itself has nothing to do with this project, which is entirely terrestrial. As for being “brought up to speed,” the extensive experience of the chosen firm, some of it on previous Districts’ projects, precludes that as a necessity.

Finally, Mr. Kidder concludes his thoughts by saying “We can still hope for a 2020 constructionstart on the west side of the lake.” Hope is one thing, reality is another. On June 14 the districts hosted a “kickoff meeting” for the west side sewer extension project. Among the documents distributed at that meeting was the proposed project schedule, which showed the construction phase of the extension beginning in May 2021. Meanwhile, it is important for everyone to know that the engineering phase of the extension has begun in the hands of the firm selected by the districts’ Administrative Board. This means that the overall project has begun and the job will get done as scheduled.

Lance Spicer is chairman of the South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer Districts Administrative Board. Thomas Erlandson is chair of the board’s Technical Committee.

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