Ogdensburg storm drainage lines could cost the city millions

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 5:17 PM EDT
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OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) - The water treatment plant in Ogdensburg is being revamped. A project that’s costing the city about $32 million. This is where the city’s sewer and storm drains run to, but city officials say that shouldn’t be the case.

“The storm water lines should not be connected to the sewer lines. That was a mistake made 50, 75, 100 years ago when they were doing it,” said City Manager Stephen Jellie.

Jellie says the problem is that the water treatment plant can only handle so much.

Councillor Mike Powers points to severe storms in July, where more than 4 million gallons of water went untreated, flooding the treatment plant, and causing polluted water to head into the St. Lawrence River.

State data shows that about 3.4 million gallons flooded into the river by the Paterson Street boat launch.

“Paterson Street’s three quarters of a mile away from the beach,” said Powers.

Powers and Jellie both say that’s likely one of the reasons why the Ogdensburg Beach is closed this summer. But Jellie says city’s drainage issue runs deeper.

“We are at risk, every time this happens, of flooding our $40 million dollar waste water treatment plant, and causing millions of dollars worth of damage. Millions,” said Jellie/

Jellie says the solution would involve separating the drainage pipes from the sewage pipes. It’s a difficult project that would potentially cost millions of dollars. But it could be an important project.

“We literally could lose, or damage our waste water treatment plant that has not even technically had its ribbon cutting on its final work yet,” said Jellie.

However, Jellie says it’s not something the city is realistically able to invest in right now. Powers says the revamped plant is expected to be done at some point in the fall.

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