October 10, 2023
Oneida County Completes Major Improvements to Wastewater Infrastructure
County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. announced today the completion of significant capital projects to upgrade and expand Oneida County’s Water Pollution Control Plant in Utica and the Sauquoit Creek Pump Station in Yorkville, fulfilling its New York State Department of Environmental Conservation-issued consent order.
“We have worked diligently with NYSDEC for more than a decade to improve Oneida County’s critical wastewater infrastructure and have gone above and beyond what was asked,” Picente said. “Not only do these upgrades fulfill the requirement of the consent order, but they greatly improve the quality of life for our residents and position our region for promising economic development opportunities moving forward.”
The wastewater upgrades have resulted in an increase in plant capacity from 55 million gallons per day (mgd) to 111 mgd, ensuring a more resilient wastewater system and a cleaner environment for property owners and residents in the Oneida County Sewer District’s 15 member municipalities.
This major milestone represents the closure of Consent Order R6-20060823-67, which was executed by NYSDEC and Oneida County in 2007 to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) into the Mohawk River. The Consent Order was revised in 2011 and included requirements for upgrades to the Water Pollution Control Plant and Sauquoit Creek Pumping Station and force main, and substantial rehabilitation work within the town/village sewer systems.
Since then, approximately $380 million in investments have been made by Oneida County and Oneida County Sewer District-member municipalities, supported by funding secured through the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation (NYSEFC).
“Oneida County has diligently taken the lead to coordinate and collaborate with its municipal users to implement improvements to the sewer district as a whole” said Randall C. Young, Regional Director for NYSDEC Region 6. “DEC appreciates the County’s ongoing commitment to upgrade and rehabilitate various system components outside of the required scope of the Consent Order, now and into the future.”
“EFC is proud to have collaborated with Oneida County and its partner municipalities to help get these crucial infrastructure upgrades across the finish line,” NYSEFC President and CEO Maureen A. Coleman said. “EFC provided $354 million in financial assistance, including $30 million in grants to support this effort. This investment will help save Oneida County ratepayers an estimated $130 million in costs associated with these projects. The success of this partnership highlights Governor Hochul’s ongoing commitment to providing communities with the capital and technical assistance necessary to undertake – and finish – critical water infrastructure projects across New York State.”
Improvements will continue to be made to the county-wide wastewater system.
“Although the work directly associated with the Consent Order is complete, we remain committed to continuous system improvements and maintenance,” said Oneida County Department of Water Quality and Water Pollution Control Commissioner Karl Schrantz. “Ongoing initiatives include continued, close collaboration with Sewer District municipalities as they maintain their sanitary sewer collection systems, including mitigation of private property inflow and infiltration.”
The Village of New Hartford is one of the municipalities that has done extensive work on its system and continues to work with the County.
“The Village of New Hartford has repaired many miles of pipe, all manholes have been rehabilitated and the few areas where sewer and storm water were connected have been separated,” said New Hartford Mayor Don Ryan. "The county has helped us identify areas of the system that need further work, and we will continue those efforts through an ongoing village sewer rehab fund and hopefully a grant that will allow the village to conduct work on private properties."
The Town of Whitestown has also overseen sewer system rehab projects throughout the town.
“The early stage of engineering studies enabled us to identify the most serious problem areas,” said Whitestown Supervisor Shaun Kaleta. “We must continue to address critical infrastructure, focus investments on high-impact areas and educate our residents not only about our work, but how they, too, can make a difference. I appreciate the County’s leadership and financial commitment to ensure the consent order was met.”
For more information about Oneida County Sewer District’s SSO mitigation project, visit https://rippleeffectocsd.org/.