Fredonia tables water district participation

After much discussion regarding the need for more information, the Fredonia Village Board, at its Monday night meeting, decided to table a resolution that would express its support for the creation of a regional water district in northern Chautauqua County.

Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corp. Executive Director Kathy Tampio was on hand at the meeting to answer questions regarding the resolution. The board questioned whether participation in the plan would result in the closing of the water filtration plant.

Tampio affirmed that going with the plan would most likely result in the decommissioning of that plant.

“I believe the plan will identify the municipal supply that the city of Dunkirk’s current water filtration plant produces, plus an upgrade so they can produce up to the 10 (millions of gallons per day) that they’re permitted for,” she said. “I believe it would include the decommission of the Brocton reservoir and treatment and the Fredonia reservoir and treatment. Specifically, for Fredonia, it’s a cost-avoidance. Based on a report the Chautauqua County Department of Health did for Fredonia, you also have some major investments that you’re anticipating to keep your system running.”

Trustee Susan Mackay said having a single source on a central utility for the entire northern part of the county would be outrageous.

“You always have a redundancy setup in case of an emergency because people are talking about Lake Erie waters going down, dying,” she said. “I had no idea talk about this plan is going back to having just one source. Perhaps (having a second source) can be worked out because nothing is final, yet.”

Tampio said reservoirs are a less reliable source of water, while Lake Erie is a much more abundant source. She also said the system would be designed with redundancy included in it.

“That’s what this next big step is for us, the actual creation and design,” Tampio said. “We can’t do the actual engineering design until we know we are going to have the money to do it.”

The board also expressed concerns with signing on to an unfinished application that they were unable to view before considering the resolution. Tampio said the county is still in the process of working on the application for an Aug. 12 deadline.

“(The filtration plant) is such a huge asset the village has that you have to be careful and you have to move slowly before you go ahead,” Trustee Janel Subjack said.

“It’s a huge step for us to take,” Mayor Stephen Keefe said. “Right now, we do have a regional water approach. We’re connected to Dunkirk and we have our reservoir. But, I think the biggest thing is we need to see what the plan looks like before we can make an educated decision. Right now, we don’t know what it would look like, how it would work, what our savings and expenses would be. We need more information.”

“I think that (tabling the measure) was a very prudent thing to do,” Tampio said after the meeting. “They need some more information and that’s what we’re going to provide to them in the next couple of weeks so that they make a well-informed decision. Of course, I hope they see the benefit of a regional water system, if not now, then in the future.”

Before the workshop portion of the meeting, the board entered into executive session to discuss personnel at the water treatment plant.

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