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Major flooding exposed ‘significant’ drainage system issues in Seneca Falls, supervisor says

Heavy rainfall on April 5 exposed significant drainage system issues in a town, according to town Supervisor Mike Ferrara. During the April 11 Town Board meeting, Ferrara described the rainfall as “devastating” and noted that the problems were predominantly in the former village area.


Ferrara explained that the century-old system allows too much stormwater to enter the sanitary sewers during intense rainfalls. He estimated that 60% to 70% of the town has illegal hookups of storm sewers and sump pumps to the sanitary sewers. This causes the flow to the wastewater treatment plant to increase to 1.1 to 1.2 million gallons a day, overwhelming the treatment process and affecting discharges into the canal.

Although a new equalization tank will provide some relief, Ferrara emphasized the need for a campaign to separate the sewers. He estimated the cost to be around $10,000 per household and mentioned a lack of grant funding for the project. However, the town will continue to collaborate with engineers to find solutions, clean storm sewers, and use cameras to identify blockages.


Photos of April flooding by Greg Cotterill, from Finger Lakes News Radio: