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West Lake Sewer Extension

As with most public works, building sewers takes time. Time right now is being spent in preparing for construction bids for the sewer extension from the Ashville BOCES school up to Stow. The money (close to $17 million) is committed and now the exact route and location of pipes, pumping stations and lateral sewers is being determined by an engineering firm.

As this work swings into full gear, people in the area may begin to receive calls or visits from those associated with the project as to needed rights-of-way and potential location of these new facilities. Though changes are possible, it is generally expected that the primary sewer main will follow the state right-of-way along Route 394.

A still-to-be-determined issue is where this pipe will cross I-86 near Stow. A “road push” will be needed to go under the expressway, and the exact location of where this will be located still has to be decided. This will, of course, be an expensive venture and some of the cost will be driven by the distance that the “push” will need to go. The underground span may also need to go under the creek which parallels the Interstate and enters the Lake near the bridge.

At a public meeting in June, the County Sewer District (“District”) responsible for this project estimated that a significant portion of the sewer main could be installed as a “gravity sewer,” meaning that portions of it could flow downhill without pumping. When you think about Route 394, you can envision at least a part of this gravity flow occurring from the top of the hill around Ramsey Road down to the lower elevation of the highway around Niets Crest.

Locations lying downhill from the main sewer trunk line will require pumps and pump grinder systems to push the sewage up to the main. This is the way it is currently done across the Lake near the old Cheney Farm where the main is located along the right-of-way of Route 430, above the level of homes located below along the Lake.

People often ask me about the time-line for sewer construction. Some are individuals who have a marginal or inadequate septic system and want to connect to a sewer. Right now, it is expected that engineering will be completed next year, perhaps into the Spring of 2021. Bids will then be taken and, providing that they are within budget, construction can begin. Construction of the system will occur over two construction seasons meaning sewers on this portion of the West side of Chautauqua Lake would be completed in 2022 or 2023, depending on the start date.

That seems like a long time away, and it is… especially for someone my age. However, when it is done, it will be in place, operating and helping clean up Chautauqua Lake for years to come. Public infrastructure can take a long time to build but once completed it will be there for generations.

Ten years from now, when the sewer has been up and operating for a while, people will assume that it has always been there, property values will have gone up along that part of the Lake since failing septic systems will be gone, and everyone will be pleased that the sewage is being sent to a plant which can properly treat it rather than having it flushed into the Lake.

Just ask anyone living across the Lake. Most have little knowledge now of how the sewers got there. Today, they just flush the toilet and don’t think much about where it goes. The same District that runs that sewer system will be operating the “new system” up the West Side of the Lake, and the sewage will be going to the same plant in Celoron.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.

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