An Update on Oneida County’s Sewer System

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An upgrade to 60-year-old structures. Oneida County is working on a $300 million project to fix its sewer system.

We’ve been dumping dilute sewage into the Mohawk River since the 80s. But now,  Oneida County is doing what it can to prevent this from happening.

It’s been nearly a decade since Oneida County received a consent order to fix it’s outdated sewer system.

“That’s an order that the DEC issues that says you have to fix something and you have to fix it according to this schedule,” said Steven Devan of the Oneida County Department of Water Quality and Pollution Control.

Devan said there’s one main problem that led to this action. The way our system works now, we’re forced to dump sewage where it doesn’t belong.

“At their pumping station in Yorkville, anytime it rains really hard and for a really long time, we have to, the sewers get overwhelmed with water that shouldn’t be there, rain water,” Devan said.

Part of the order involves increasing the capacity at the pumping station to take 35 million gallons of sewage per day. That’s more than double of what it holds now.

“We’re revamping that pumping station, we’re putting another force main which is a sewer line under pressure, from there to this plant, a bigger one. And we’re also making accommodations at this plant to take more water,” Devan said.

But the changes don’t stop at the county level. Devan said the team is repairing pipes in the municipal systems that lead to backups and overs flows at the Yorkville pumping station.

“We’re going to have to move on and work for the people on the private side to also get problems that they generate straightened out. Like leaky laterals, like putting their sump pumps in when they don’t belong in the sewer. As a matter of fact, it’s against the law to have that stuff in the sewer,” Devan said.

Work at the pumping station is expected to be completed with the next two years but we have until December 31, 2021 to complete the consent order.

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