Alleged false sewage readings could have cost taxpayers, Port Leyden’s mayor says

Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 4:14 PM EDT
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PORT LEYDEN, New York (WWNY) - The mayor of Port Leyden explains why the investigation into alleged false sewage readings was so important. It turns out there could have been a lot at stake for taxpayers.

Just beyond the no trespassing sign is Port Leyden’s wastewater treatment facility.

There, daily readings are taken of the sewage water that comes into the facility and out into the river.

“It ensures the safety of the water that is exiting the facility is safe to be discharged into the rivers,” said Port Leyden Mayor Shawn Smith.

It’s an important job - one Smith says wasn’t done correctly.

Former village Department of Public Works Superintendent Jeremy Rogers was charged last week for allegedly not doing those readings. He faces 10 misdemeanor counts of falsifying business records.

Smith says he is relieved there was no pollution in the river as a result.

“Nothing had happened as far as any pollution or anything like that,” he said.

Smith says the investigation began when he and the wastewater sewer operator visited the plant after a fresh snowfall. He says there were no tracks in the snow leading to where readings would have been done, but the paperwork inside the facility had already been filled out.

“It was obvious that no one had been at the facility, in those buildings, or down at the tank, but those numbers had been recorded,” said Smith.

Even though the charges are misdemeanors, Smith wants taxpayers to realize what was on the line.

“The taxpayers of the village could have been held liable for major damages. Thank God the river didn’t get polluted or something along those lines didn’t happen,” he said.

Rogers’ brother, Shane, who held a similar position in neighboring Lyons Falls, has also been charged with 2 counts of the same misdemeanor.