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East Syracuse awarded grant to help stop sewage overflow

New York State Environmental Facilities Corp. President and CEO Matt Driscoll, second from left, presents East Syracuse Mayor Danny Liedka with a ceremonial check for $279,000. Flanking them are Matt Millea, deputy county executive for physical services, left, and Chad Tolhurst, village trustee. The grant funds will help the village disconnect downspouts from the roofs of several village buildings and redirect the water into rain gardens and other green areas.

New York State Environmental Facilities Corp. President and CEO Matt Driscoll, second from left, presents East Syracuse Mayor Danny Liedka with a ceremonial check for $279,000. Flanking them are Matt Millea, deputy county executive for physical services, left, and Chad Tolhurst, village trustee. The grant funds will help the village disconnect downspouts from the roofs of several village buildings and redirect the water into rain gardens and other green areas. Photo by Ned Campbell.

— The village of East Syracuse can solve a sewage overflow problem that has plagued the village for more than 50 years thanks in part to a $279,000 Green Innovation grant from the Central New York Economic Development Council.

The presented to Mayor Danny Liedka by New York State Environmental Facilities Corp. president and CEO Matt Driscoll today at village hall, complements a previous commitment by the EFC to give East Syracuse $2.7 million in short-term interest-free, low-interest financing for the construction of several improvements to its sanitary sewer system.

The $279,000 grant will go toward work to disconnect downspouts from the roofs of several village buildings and redirect the water into rain gardens and other green areas. The total $2.8 million in funds from the state will help create up to 10 jobs and improve the village by mitigating against sewage overflows that occur in homes during heavy rains.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Liedka said, adding that he’s spent an estimated 500-plus hours studying the sewage problem, helping residents deal with it, and lobbying on behalf of the village.

“So it’s a real sweet outcome for us,” he said. “It’s nice to see that money directed to a community that really needs it.”

The sewage issue goes back to “probably the ‘40s,” Liedka said.

“The village has been illegally pumping raw sewage for that long,” he said. “When I took office this was priority one for me — to get this rectified.”

He attributed the illegal pumping to old infrastructure.

“A lot of these homes were built in the early 1800s, so their roof drains were actually routed into sanitary sewers, where with new builds that doesn’t happen,” Liedka explained. “So you can imagine you have your sewage flow, plus storm water on top of that — it just overwhelms the system.”

The initial phases of the village’s multi-year sewage mitigation project are underway, and construction on an above ground storage tank that will capture sanitary sewer overflows is expected to begin in July, Liedka said.

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