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City Council holds town to wastewater limits, warns of penalties

By Joanne Beck
Brett Frank

Two Town of Batavia projects — the Kings Plaza Pump Station and Force Main Upgrade —  originally planned for completion in 2020 had been put on hold due to Covid-19 and increased pricing, city officials say, pushing it out to December 2021 when additional funding was available.

During that same time, the town’s wastewater flows increased to approximately 1.2 to 1.4 million gallons per day, which exceeded the town’s current contractual limit of .85 million gallons per day, as established in the Wastewater Facility Agreement dated in February 2015, city officials said.

“So basically what you’ve got, the Town of Batavia was awarded a grant from the New York State Community Development Block Grant to upgrade the Kings Plaza pump stations and make improvements to the existing water main that connects to the city's sewer system. They are over capacity right now,” Public Works Director Brett Frank said during City Council's conference meeting Monday at City Hall. “The pump station has a maximum capacity of .54 million gallons per day (MGD), and the town would like to plan for future growth … there’s concern with their current exceedance of the contractual former limits in the full capacity of the plant, and we believe we should not yet approve a capacity of one million gallons per day. This agreement will address these concerns and proposes modifications to ensure that the town adheres to the current capacity flows of point .54 MGD.”

City Council was asked to approve a resolution of agreement between the town and city of Batavia that the town will stick with an average .54 million gallons per day, and that if it goes above that, “daily monetary penalties will be levied by the city.”

City Attorney George Van Nest said that the city has “the ability to have penalties for going over that, which it’s in there, but we haven’t stipulated what those penalties would be.”

The town is also asked to agree that a new 12-inch force main will be installed from Kings Plaza Pump Station to River and South Main streets, and that the city may inspect the project.

“The upgrades at the Kings Plaza Pump Station will include a new master sewer meter,” the resolution states.

Council members Bob Bialkowski and Eugene Jankowski Jr. said they were concerned about the town paying the penalty, “and that’s not solving our problem,” Jankowski said, “and they’re getting away cheap to cause a problem for us.”

They wondered if the town should have to do its own water treatment, and Frank said that’s already in the plan.

“We’re actually engaging in those engineering services to potentially expand the wastewater treatment plant, and that would all be at the cost of the town of the Batavia to do those engineering services,” he said.

The matter was forwarded on to a business meeting that followed, and Council approved the resolution for the city manager to execute a related state Department of Environmental Conservation BSP-5 form.

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