Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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July 3, 2013

City to absorb extra refuse tab


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — •••

The freaky Friday rain storm dumped a record amount of water on the city. The wastewater treatment plant, where storm water and sanitary sewage are cleaned, registered an intake high mark of 92.5 million gallons, while capacity is 80 million gallons and average point-in-time intake is 7 million gallons. Before Friday, 85 million gallons was the most the plant ever handled in a storm, Tucker said.

To those who suspect flooding of streets and basements was caused by deficiencies in the city’s aged sewer system, Norman Allen, director of engineering and public works, says “that’s just not true.”

“There was more rain than the sewers are designed to handle. That’s why (flooding) occurred,” he said.

When the flooding started, he added, “the first thing (public works crews) did was check storm receivers to make sure they were clear — and most of them were. That wasn’t the issue, volume was.”

The city’s cost to deal with the storm, in terms of dispatching public works employees, police officers and firefighters to respond to various crises, and repairing or replacing damaged public property, is estimated at $1.2 million initially.

Among the damages to public property:

• Two key pieces of equipment at the wastewater treatment plant, a grit collector and one of four water clarifying tanks, broke down during the storm. The system still functioned at 100 percent during and after the rain, but the equipment should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent damages in other parts of the treatment system, chief operator Doug Sibolski said.

• A section of Gooding Street near the wastewater treatment plant remains closed the rest of this week while a seven-foot-deep sinkhole in the pavement is filled and road shoulders are replaced. The stone shoulders were washed away by rain water rushing down the escarpment.

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