Wastewater Plant Upgrade Project Resumes on Monday


Monday morning, most eyes will doubtlessly be on the Amp deconstruction as it begins. Meanwhile, at the south end of the grounds, another large capital project will also resume: the $8 million upgrade of the Chautauqua Utility District’s (CUD) sanitary sewer plant.

“I expect that we will have three crews here at work on Monday morning,” said CUD supervisor Tom Cherry. “Our largest contractors will be Southern Tier Construction of Hamburg, New York; Frey & Co., electrical contractors [from the] Buffalo [area] and Scobell HVAC contractors from Erie.”

The plan for the upgraded wastewater plant has not changed significantly over this summer season. The first work will involve the two large, new aeration tanks, which will be constructed in the fenced-off area uphill from the main sewer plant.

Cherry said the new tanks would have 2-feet-thick walls and a 3-feet-deep floor, all made of concrete.

“The walls will be 26 feet high, though most of that will be invisible under the hillside on the west side of the tanks,” Cherry said.

He reminded Chautauqua community gardeners of CUD’s commitment to restoring their plots when the plant upgrade is completed, and said CUD has reached out to Institution supervisor of gardens and landscapes Betsy Burgeson to assist in the garden’s restoration. She has agreed to offer advice and support.

Cherry said by Christmas, Chautauquans could expect much of the remaining demolition to be complete. Significant new equipment will be delivered when the space for it is ready, probably after New Year’s.

After that, electrical work and various additional installations will follow.

Cherry assured Chautauquans that the existing operating systems would remain fully on line until there was every assurance that the new systems were ready. Thus, there will be no interruption of service.

“There should be no change in service for the 2017 season,” he said.

Work will likely remain even after next year, though, Cherry said.

“I think that we won’t be fully operational with our most sophisticated control systems and various punch list items until after the 2017 season,” he said.

Cherry said the initial bonds for the $8 million project were sold at 1 percent interest, meaning a potential drop in the tax increase for Chautauquans to pay for the project.

“The key is what rate will be applied to the final serial bonds, which will finance the work,” Cherry said. “But if our initial experience carries over to the serial bond sales, CUD customers will see lower tax increases than we had originally anticipated.”


The author John Ford

John Ford is in his ninth year with the Daily. He reports on general news, does feature reporting and writes the weekly Chautauqua Conversations column. A wire service reporter for United Press International prior to embarking on a career as a foreign service officer with the Department of State, he currently writes a regular column on American politics and foreign relations for one of the two principal daily newspapers in Nassau, Bahamas.