Monday, April 23, 2007

Are Floaty's Days Numbered?

Oneida County has spewed over half a billion gallons of sewage into the Mohawk River in the last two years. The state has set this week as the deadline for fixing the problem.

The county needs to either sign the state's proposed consent order or request further discussions, said Department of Environmental Conservation spokesman Stephen Litwhiler.

The order was issued by the environmental agency so the county would stop pumping untreated waste from a Yorkville pump station into the Mohawk River. The estimate for repair work is $66 million.

"We're going to continue negotiations until we get a consent that works in a manner to our satisfaction," Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said.

The county's response will be given to the department by Monday and will have three major amendments to the state's order, Picente said. They are:

•More time to conduct a study of the problem and an extension of the state's 2011 deadline to complete necessary repairs.

•Getting rid of the $200,000 in fines the department imposed on the county.

•Lifting the moratorium barring sewer extension permits to the affected areas.

To boil that down to it's essence, Mr. Picente's response is to do a study. Worse, he wants to continue allowing development that will only put even more feces and sewage into the river. In much of the state projects like that are forced to construct their own water treatment facilities so the net load on the sewage system doesn't increase, but Oneida County seemingly can't agree to even that token effort to keep our surface water uncontaminated.