WATER WOES — This 2016 photo shows interior piping, part of the new ultraviolet filtration facility — where the ultraviolet reactors are housed — next to the City of Rome’s reservoirs on Stokes-Lee Center Road in the Town of Lee. A pair of chlorine leaks in November 2016 kept the system from being brought online by the end of that year. The facility is receiving $3 million in funding, the state has announced. (Sentinel photo by John Clifford)

More than $6M flows from state to Rome for water projects

Published Oct 11, 2017 at 4:10pm

Rome will get a total of $6,527,200 for three water infrastructure projects as part of the state’s nearly $30 million in grants to support 21 Mohawk Valley projects, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Tuesday afternoon.

The projects include both drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects. These grants are part of a $255 million statewide investment, funded through the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act, as well as the new Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grants Program.

“This unprecedented investment continues New York’s commitment to helping municipalities develop necessary infrastructure to protect our water resources,” Gov. Cuomo said. “These investments are crucial to supporting the health and safety of our communities, and help lay the foundation for future growth and prosperity in every corner of this great state.”

In the Mohawk Valley, nearly $30 million in grant funds will leverage $91 million in total project costs and provide nearly $62 million in taxpayer savings. This investment will also create 1,490 jobs across the region.

Rome has three projects that will receive partial funding from these grants.

The first is a $3 million grant for part of the ultraviolet filtration facility, which has a total estimated cost of $10,866,000. The project was to go online last November, but two chlorine leaks in that new building as it was being incorporated into the overall filtration system shut the building down. An investigation into the cause and the subsequent repairs have delayed the project, which is still not functioning. The federal deadline for the UV facility to be online is the end of this year.

The city’s Railroad Street interceptor sewer upgrade project, which will cost $14 million, will get a $2,589,700 grant as part of this new money. This project bolsters the main sewer line that runs from the pump station at the intersection of Erie and Black River boulevards to the waste water treatment plant on lower East Dominick Street. This includes repairs to the existing line and the addition of a second pipe. The project is early in the design phase, said Public Works Commissioner Butch Conover, and the work should be done in 2019.

The third project in Rome to get grant money is the water pollution control facility’s ultraviolet disinfection project, a $3.75 million project that will get $937,500 in state funding. Conover said the city aims to start early next year and complete the work later in 2018.

The various projects in the region aim to strengthen the drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in a number of ways, the state noted. These include upgrades and replacements for drinking water systems, filtration plants and water mains, as well as the construction or enhancement of wastewater treatment plants, pump stations and sewer systems.

Here are the other projects in Oneida County that will get partial funding:

  • Village of Barneveld: $1,028,125 for a $4,112,500 project for the waste water treatment plant and collection system.
  • Mohawk Valley Water Authority: $2,212,200 for a $3,687,000 drinking water project.
  • Village of Oneida Castle: $1,129,000 for a $4,516,000 sanitary sewer collection systems project.
  • City of Utica: $677,500 for a $2.71 million combined sewer overflow control project.
  • Village of Waterville: $626,250 for a $2,505,000 waste water system improvements project.

Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo said the grants help fund projects that will contribute to economic development. “We are positioned well for further economic development activity because we have assets already built and in the ground.” water and waste water improvements, including addressing mandates,” she said. “As per economic development projects, we’re just as aggressive applying for infrastructure projects as well. And the state has been receptive. The state is happy we’re out in front on this.”

The water filtration UV money, she said, is “very helpful because we had no grant money at all targeted toward that project.” As for the waste water plant’s UV money, the new grant covers the remainder of the cost that when coupled with a previous state grant covers all of the project cost with no city money required. “That was very unexpected and we’re very happy with that,” she said. The interceptor project was suggested by the state, so the city made it a priority, she said, and Rome was rewarded for the initiative to get to it quickly.

In addition to grants, the Environmental Facilities Corp. provides interest-free and low-interest loans to communities further enhancing the taxpayer savings related to the development of these projects. The grants announced Tuesday are expected to be supplemented with nearly $62 million in these low-cost loans.

“This year the Legislature along with the governor understood the need for water infrastructure improvement projects across the state and were able to work collaboratively to ensure that these essential projects receive funding,” said State Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-47, Rome.

“These grants will help municipalities upgrade water infrastructure efficiently and expediently, while providing millions in taxpayer savings and creating hundreds of new jobs,” the state senator added.

Assemblyman Anthony J. Brindisi, D-119, Utica said, “Clean drinking water is an absolute necessity for the health and well-being of Mohawk Valley residents. If our area is to continue moving forward economically, we must continue to invest
in projects to improve water quality.”