Water concerns put on the table

Town of Dunkirk residents interested in getting city water were back for another town board meeting Wednesday to keep their concerns front and center.

Gene Tarnowski told the board his wife, Jana, received a reply from state Sen. Cathy Young about possible funding options. Supervisor Richard Purol said the town received a copy of Young’s letter and proceeded to read the highlights, including funding options for various types of projects. Young said it was a local matter and suggested various offices that could be contacted for information and possible help.

“As stated earlier, the extension of water lines from the town of Dunkirk to your home on South Roberts Road is a local matter,” Young wrote. She added she would help as much as she could.

Purol then asked for more comments.

Leslie Valentine Jr. said he had a business in the town and was on well water, had no sewer, and was in need of water.

Purol said Town Attorney Jeffrey Passafaro advised residents at the last meeting they had to find out how many residents would be interested in a water line. He was told that most people were interested.

Purol said it should come from a 16-inch line on Urban Road because the 4-inch line on Franklin Avenue would likely be inadequate.

“If you put it in a right-of-way there’s going to be some rules and regulations about the water line, that if you apply for this funding, and I’m not sure about all this stuff, but the way I’ve been told is you have to provide enough water to provide fire protection, too,” Purol explained. “So even putting a water line in if you don’t have the capacity for that we have a problem. But we are looking into it.”

Purol said he has talked to Young about the project and the current situation.

“I’m sure even with funding there’s not going to be enough money where it’s going to be a free deal,” he added. “The residents are going to have to pay something on it. … We need to know how many people and then come up with some kind of an engineering study and figure out how much water line we’ve got to put in, what size and everything else.”

Penharlow said he has left a list of involved property owners for the residents to work with in determining who would be involved with a house-to-house survey. He added being an agricultural district should work in the residents’ favor.

“What you need to do is have a list of people so we can figure how far we have to go up,” Purol added, “and then we’ve got to figure out if we can get an engineering study done on what size pipe we need to take care of the houses.”

Penharlow pointed out the irony of water shortages with Lake Erie being so close.

After the meeting Purol was asked how many other sections in the town are on well water?

“Anybody that didn’t have a water district before was put into the comprehensive townwide (district), which includes New Road, part of Roberts Road, Greenhurst, Swamp Road, Brigham Road, Temple, Chestnut, Willow, I think that’s it,” he replied. “All those roads were put into the comprehensive, so if they don’t have city water, they’re on well water.”

Purol said some homes made deals with the city of Dunkirk and have private lines tied into city water.

“Every other thing has its own district. Middle Road, Urban Road, Shorewood, Bennett Road, East Lake Road; there’s nine water districts in the town that have city water,” he added.

Purol was asked if the town was looking to residential expansion with the help of the Chadwick Bay water initiative.

“Eventually, that’s what we’re planning on doing. The biggest thing with Chadwick Bay we’re trying to do is come up with a main water line and then it would be up to each individual town to branch off,” he replied. “Right now, all they’re doing is talking about Route 5. There’s nothing else coming up this way but eventually there would be a big loop where you would connect everything and there would be certain water towers in the future. Now is it going to happen tomorrow? No.”

Purol said the town is positioned to move forward as it now has the comprehensive townwide water district and a water supply permit.

“If we didn’t have that they could ask all they want and there would be nothing we could even start on,” he stated.

As for vacant properties with frontage along a possible water line, Purol said he didn’t know how they would be charged.

“We’ve never had to do that. This is going to be all new for us too if we have to put any water lines in,” he added.

Purol said last summer’s drought has made a difference.

“There’s a lot of people that are really concerned about that now where they weren’t before: ‘well, I’ve got a well and it will last. I might not be able to drink it but I can flush my toilets.’ Now, all of a sudden they’re worried because they ran out of water and what are you going to do?” he asked. “The biggest thing is there are a lot of variables we don’t know about. If you run a water line and it’s in the town right-of-way, do you have to have hydrants there for fire protection? … Can we put something in if you can’t supply enough (customers) to make it a reasonable request for a water line? I don’t know.”

“Yes, I’m going to try and use Chadwick Bay as much as possible.”

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