The Village of Homer is taking initial steps to establish a capital project to make repairs to the village's aging sewer system. The repairs come as costs to operate the system continue to soar.
Last year the village sewer budget was over spent by $83 thousand dollars, one of the factors driving the increase in expenses is the infiltration of ground water into the village’s leaky sewer system.
The village doesn't have it's own waste water treatment plant; the sewage is piped to Cortland where it is treated. The village pays the city based on volume, leaks in the sewer pipes are allowing millions of gallons of ground water to seep into the pipes which increases the amount of wastewater being treated.
Since last year the village has been looking for ways to address the problem, one of the first steps is identifying where the leaks are. The Board of Trustees has solicited engineering services for prices to study the current system and identify where the leaks are and how best to fix them.
On Tuesday engineers from Barton and Loguidice presented their proposal to the board. For a little over $18 thousand dollars the company will study they system, identify the leaks and develop a capital project to make the repairs. In addition the company if awarded the contract would apply for state grant funding to cover the cost of the study. The state will pay up to $30 thousand dollars to fund such a report.
Suits says getting the grant application filed soon is the first step, she is confident the village would receive the money.
After the study is complete the village could then look at funding sources to pay for the actual repairs.
The engineers feel the village can cut the ground water infiltration by up to 35% simply by repairing manholes and making sure storm drains are not connected to the sewers. In order to decrease the inflow further the village will have to look at repairing sewer lines possibly by lining the existing pipes and working with property owners to repair or replace sewer laterals.
Repairing the system will not only save residents money in their sewer bill, but will also increase capacity at the treatment plant which could be used to support industrial users.
The grant application is due by June 16th. Suits expects the village will apply for the grant and then make a final decision on engineering services. Three other engineering forms have submitted proposals.