Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

December 4, 2013

Town project mulled

BY JOE OLENICK joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — In an effort to address its aging infrastructure, the Town of Lockport is looking at a major water and sewer improvement project.

Officials are discussing a $16.9 million project to replace old, leaky water and sewer lines in a number of spots throughout the town. The work would take place over a three-year period, starting early 2014.

The plan is to address an aging infrastructure before it becomes too costly to repair, said Supervisor Marc R. Smith.

“We’ve reached that point, where with the age of the infrastructure, it’s a diminishing return,” Smith said.

Town officials met with Engineer Robert D. Klavoon at a work session Monday to discuss the $14.1 million worth of water line work and $2.8 million worth of sewer repairs.

Water lines are to be replaced on Bowmiller, Chestnut Ridge, Ernest, Junction, Keck, Leete, Purdy, Slayton Settlement, South Transit and Upper Mountain roads, Shimer Drive and Beattie Avenue. The work includes a leak detection survey, monitoring equipment and replacment of all of the town’s pressure reducing valves.

The sewer work includes repair work on pump stations in the town’s Industrial Development Agency park, at the Niagara County Jail and on Keck Road. Work would also include a camera-look inside and then flushing of the Tonawanda Creek Road sewer and $1.5 million worth of “slip-lining,” which inserts new linings inside leaking lines.

Since 2008, Lockport has seen $210,000 to $250,000 in costs due to water loss annually, a trend that’s expected to get worse in 2013. The town is projected to lose $265,033 in water loss for the entire year.

So, with those leaks reduced, Klavoon estimated the town could save up to $75,800 in water loss reduction each year.

”Can we afford this? I’d say yes,” said Councilman Mark C. Crocker.

If the project work is approved, the water budget would need a $350,000 revenue increase to balance it over the next few years, Klavoon said. While that normally could be covered by a rate increase, the $350,000 would be offset by a drop in sewer expenses. So, overall, that means nothing would change for the taxpayer’s bottom line.

It’s expected the town’s borrowing totals won’t increase either, as any bonds needed for the water and sewer project would be added as outstanding bonds are paid off. Lockport’s outstanding bonds currently total $8.4 million, Smith said.

Interest is expected to be less than 3 percent for a 20-year repayment schedule.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.