Regional Sewer Mergers Have Shaped the Future of the Division of Sewerage Management
The Division of Sewerage Management has been one of the most successful models for regionalism in Erie County. Starting in the 2000s, the Division of Sewerage Management has merged the sanitary sewer systems of the following municipalities with adjacent Erie County Sewer Districts:
- Town of Boston (2001, 2005)
- Village of Blasdell (2003)
- Town of Brant / Village of Farnham (2003)
- Town of Lancaster (2003, 2007)
- Village of Hamburg (2005)
- Village of E. Aurora / Town of Aurora (2007/2008)
- Town of Hamburg (2007, 2008)
- Village of North Collins (2007)
- Village of Orchard Park (2007)
- Wanakah Sewer Commission (2008)
Most of the communities that have merged with the County have touted that the consolidation of services has provided future cost savings for their residents while easing their concerns over future regulations, lessening their potential liabilities, and helping in their succession planning for their workforce.
Mergers have allowed the Division of Sewerage Management to provide service in a more efficient and effective manner, resulting in long-term operation and maintenance cost reductions and an overall benefit to the ratepayer. The merger program has also had a positive effect on water quality in Western New York. Many of the systems the County obtained had recurring sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). The County has employed regional solutions to address these problems that it had inherited. For example, the Village of Hamburg had an Order on Consent with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) due to several SSOs it had in its system. The Village system was merged with Erie County Sewer District No. 3 in 2005. After completion of the merger, the County effectuated several improvements and by 2012, all of the SSO points were addressed. In 2015 the NYSDEC officially closed the file on the order on consent. Some SSOs that the County took over from other municipalities remain; however, solutions continue to be developed such as the Rush Creek Interceptor project.
The Division of Sewerage Management appears to be well positioned to lead the way toward a regional sewer system. The merger program allows the Division to align its principles with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s watershed based approach for sanitary sewer services. We believe that this is the most efficient and effective method to protect the County's valuable water resources.