Modified: September 26, 2023 11:45am
Erie County’s sewer infrastructure is being upgraded systemwide with the investment of nearly $63 million in RENEW Plan funding, with work taking place across all seven Erie County Sewer Districts. Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz today joined Legislature minority leader John Mills (11th District), Commissioner of the Department of Environment and Planning Dan Castle, Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Sewerage Management Joe Fiegl, and members of the Sewer District Board at the Southtowns Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility in Woodlawn to review the improvements and the installation of new influent screw pumps at the facility. The new pumps, themselves an investment of more than $3.3 million, replace the original 42-year-old screw pumps there.
“Our RENEW Plan uses American Rescue Plan funding for major investments in clean water in Erie County, protecting Lake Erie and benefitting everyone who uses water. Upgrading these aging systems is an expensive undertaking that would not be possible to the extent envisioned were it not for the ARP funding, however, with the funding we are able to build better, cleaner, more efficient sewer infrastructure that will serve for decades to come,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “As the current stewards of this infrastructure, it is imperative we make these investments so these community assets continue to provide reliable service for the years to come. I thank President Biden, Majority Leader Schumer and Congressman Higgins, along with all the Democratic representatives who made this funding possible, for providing communities like Erie County with the resources to take on these big but critical projects.”
Erie County Legislature Minority Leader John Mills (11th District) said, ““I’m glad that this much needed infrastructure work is finally being done. It’s long overdue. It’s imperative that we be able to rely on the equipment at these facilities to ensure proper service, while protecting our local waterways. I have served on the board of Erie County Sewers for 37 years and was its chair for more than 3 decades. I understand the important service that’s being provided. This is a good and proper use of Federal American Rescue Plan funding.”
After over 42-years of exposure to the harsh conditions encountered in raw wastewater, the original influent screw pumps at the Southtowns Facility needed replacement. Using Federal American Rescue Plan funding allocated through the RENEW Plan, Erie County is in the final stages of over $3.3 million in construction work to install new pumps.
It is a big job; each of the three influent screw pumps at the Southtowns Facility can convey flows up to 27.5 million gallons per day, are 8.5-feet in diameter, and are over 40-feet long. It is anticipated the last of the three new influent screw pumps will be operational later this fall.
While the Southtowns Facility utilized innovative technologies as part of its design, for certain pumping applications engineers relied on contemporary versions of a 3rd-century B.C. invention. The influent and effluent pumping systems at the Southtowns Facility each include three Archimedes screw pumps, based on the same concepts used in ancient times but modernized for today’s purposes. The efficiency and simplicity of the Archimedes screw pump technology works well in the wastewater industry, allowing for management of the varied components within wastewater over a wide range of flows.
Deputy Commissioner Joe Fiegl said, “The influent Archimedes screw pumps are an integral part of the Southtowns Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility. For several years the professionals at the Southtowns Facility have performed critical maintenance to keep these pumps operational, but the time had come in the equipment’s lifecycle for replacement. I thank the Facility’s operation/maintenance staff, the Division of Sewerage Management’s engineers, our consulting firms DiDonato Associates and JMDavidson, and our contractors Hohl Industrial Services and CIR Electric for their work on this project. I also thank the County Executive and County Legislature for recognizing the importance of investing in these types of initiatives through the RENEW Plan to benefit water, arguably our most valuable resource.”
This project is a key part of the Poloncarz administration’s overall commitment to invest $63 million in RENEW Plan funding across all seven (7) Erie County Sewer Districts for infrastructure improvements. Since the summer of 2021, numerous facility upgrades such as the screw pump project have been advanced at the County’s wastewater treatment plants and pumping stations. Besides work at these facilities, over 300,000 lineal feet of sanitary sewer pipes have been rehabilitated/replaced throughout the sewer districts – a distance that could stretch across the entire County in any direction with plenty of length to spare. All this work assists Erie County in its ongoing efforts to enhance its protection of public health and local waterways, as well as further its support of the needs of our community, through investments in these critical assets.
Congressman Brian Higgins said, “Thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan, under the leadership of County Executive Poloncarz, we are making long-term upgrades that will improve efficiency and protect the health of our local water systems for generations to come. This project at the Southtowns Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility, in addition to others taking place as part of the RENEW Plan, is an important investment in cleaner waterways and a healthier future for our community.”
Erie County Legislator John Gilmour (9th District) said, “"Our community deserves clean and healthy waterways which is why I am pleased to see that we are in the final stage of installing new pumps at the Southtowns Wastewater Facility. This facility is vital for the residents in the Southtowns, and through the RENEW Plan we are to able address the issues at this facility and facilities across the county."
For more information:
On the Department of Environment & Planning, visit https://www3.erie.gov/environment/
On the Division of Sewerage Management, visit https://www3.erie.gov/dsm/
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