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Auburn looks to upgrade sewer system to reduce environmental impact on Owasco River

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Auburn is hoping to upgrade its sewer system to help reduce environmental impact and increase the capacity of its wastewater treatment system.

The project, which will cost an estimated $22 million, includes improvements to the city’s four combined sewer overflow treatment facilities along the Owasco River and separation of sewer lines in targeted areas. The project also has the potential to create capacity within the sewer collection system to allow for future economic development. The city has received an $11 million grant from the state Environmental Facilities Corp. and an $11 million state loan with 0% interest for the project.

Seth Jensen, the director of municipal utilities, presented the plans to the Auburn city councilors on January 26th and hopes to start a public dialogue about the project, as some of the repair work will be disruptive in certain areas. The upgrades would result in a decrease in flows into the sewer and full disinfection and particulate treatment and removal at the Miller and Genesee street facilities. The city plans to go to bid for the facility improvements later this year and begin construction in the fourth quarter of 2023, with completion anticipated by 2025.

The project will have impacts such as noise, traffic detours, temporary sewer disruptions, and temporary access restrictions to residences. New storm sewers will be installed in various areas, and the Wadsworth and Venice street facilities will be phased out. Work in the area of the Wadsworth Street facility is slated to start before the beginning of construction on the Aurelius Avenue Bridge project. The city hopes that the project will significantly reduce the environmental impact associated with sewer discharge to the Owasco River during wet weather events.