Cheektowaga, NY - Senator Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) and Assemblymember Monica Wallace (D-Lancaster) joined Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski and members of the Town Board to announce that New York State has awarded the Town of Cheektowaga $5 million in Water Quality Improvement Program (WQIP) funding. This latest grant brings the state’s investment in Cheektowaga’s aging sewer system to $20 million in grants and another $15 million in zero-interest loans, and will enable the town to line more than 33 miles of sewers in Sewer Sheds 9 and 10, located south of Broadway and west of Union Road. To date, the town, under a consent order with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, has relined more than 105 miles of sewers, in order to reduce inflow and infiltration into the sewer system. This work to modernize the aging system has resulted in the prevention of millions of gallons of diluted raw sewage from entering area waterways, including Scajaquada Creek.
“Western New York’s municipalities are faced with significant costs as they work to address the needs of their aging infrastructure,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “When those infrastructure needs are also impacting our environment, it becomes even more pressing. I’m proud that New York State has aggressively worked to collaborate with Cheektowaga and Depew in order to prevent local taxpayers from unfairly shouldering the whole cost of this work, and I applaud both municipalities for tackling these major projects headon.”
“The investments in Cheektowaga’s aging sewer system will prevent millions of gallons of raw sewage from entering waterways like Scajaquada Creek, which flows into the Niagara River and ultimately our Great Lakes.” said Assemblymember Monica Wallace. “We must continue to protect one of our most valuable resources. I commend both Cheektowaga and Depew for undertaking these much-needed repairs. I will continue to support projects that protect our environment and water.”
Kennedy and Wallace also announced that the Village of Depew was awarded $482,500 from New York State through the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act. This project will, like Cheektowaga, target a reduction in inflow and infiltration into the Village’s sewer system. Infiltration refers to water that has improperly entered the sewer system through deficiencies such as cracked and damaged sewers, while inflow refers to improper connections to the sewer system, such as illegal downspout connections.
“In yet another example of our aggressive pursuit of grant funding, Cheektowaga has obtained an additional $5 million to reline sewers as part of a multiyear project that will directly benefit the town’s residents,” said Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski. “I would like to thank Senator Kennedy and Assemblymember Wallace for their strong advocacy for Cheektowaga and our town’s infrastructure needs. This funding will provide real relief for town taxpayers and provide a direct return on our state tax dollars.”
“The Village of Depew appreciates receiving the WIIA Grant award of $482,500 from the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation,” said Depew Mayor Kevin Peterson. “The estimated cost of Phase 4 of our ongoing Inflow and Infiltration Project is $1,930,000 and to be able to secure the maximum award of 25% is a huge WIN for the Village of Depew and it’s residents.”
Under a Consent Order that has been agreed to by the State, the Federal Government, and the Town of Cheektowaga, the town is required to improve and modernize their sewage treatment system in order to reduce sewer overflows that result in raw sewage draining into area waterways. The consent order calls for the town to prioritize the elimination of inflow and infiltration. The DEC has expressed a preference for this problem to be addressed before assessing the need for additional sewage capacity. Inflow and infiltration results in increased amounts of water in the sewage system during heavy rain, resulting in an overload to the system that must be alleviated by releasing untreated diluted sewage into area waterways.