September 6, 2013


C’ville takes stock of stormwater systems

Staff Reporter

Inspections of stormwater drainage systems in Cortlandville will begin at the end of the month, following an intial round of self-reporting by businesses.
The maintenance program, operated by the Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District, is designed to ensure that private stormwater systems are being properly maintained and inspected. A total of 33 commercial and industrial facilities are part of the program.
The second phase will continue asking companies to self-report annually as was done in phase one. In addition, the district will conduct its own inspections of stormwater facilities, with one-third of the facilities reviewed each year.
Facilities that did not submit status reports in phase one will be the first to receive an inspection from the Soil and Water Conservation District, as well as the three oldest that did respond.
Each inspection will include a review of the designs presented to the town Planning Board and the previous inspection reports. Once any problems have been identified, the district will work with business to develop a plan to fix or improve their stormwater systems.
The town is paying the district $6,000 to complete the two phases of the program. A new contract will be created to cover the cost of inspecting one-third of the facilities annually, said Town Supervisor Richard Tupper.
“They do a lot for municipalities; you ask them and they find a way to do it,” Tupper said about the district “It was valuable to us so it was worth a small payment.”
Phase one of the project focused on notifying property owners of the program and gathering information on the current status of the stormwater systems. The first phase was voluntary and involved providing status reports asking for the current condition, problems identified and inspections performed.
Of the 33 facilities contacted on Feb. 19, 24 completed the status reports due on March 9. The reports painted a positive picture of the town’s stormwater infrastructure. According to the district’s report, minor problems were taken care of and the majority reported routine inspections and satisfactory system performance.
“I think by and large we were very pleased with the response,” said Amanda Barber, district manager of the SWCD. “We’re hopeful it will be a good educational experience for maintenance.”
United Auto on Route 13, Suit-Kote Corp.’s Polkville and East Homer locations and Marvin Windows in Polkville were among the nine facilities that did not respond. Walgreens did not submit a status report but provided documentation of inspections and maintenance.
Among the responses to the status reports, five facilities found problems though all were resolved or have plans to be fixed.
Businesses experiencing minor problems were Rite Aid, Doug’s Fish Fry and Dunkin Donuts on Route 281, Walmart on Bennie Road and Redding-Hunter on Luker Road. All five have been inspected routinely by maintenance, or by an outside consultant, according to their status reports.
Only United College dorms, which runs the College Suites apartments between Route 13 and 281 and Empire Tractor on Route 13 presented status reports but listed no inspections.
Cortlandville adopted a stormwater ordinance in 1997 to ensure that certain development projects would construct stormwater management systems. Since the ordinance’s implementation 16 years ago, over 40 projects have been affected.
The ordinance was designed to protect the town’s sole source aquifer by limiting drainage and combating flooding problems.
According to the report, these are primarily infiltration systems, which empty into the town’s sole source aquifer. This makes maintaining the systems especially important.
“This is really something that the town initiated on their own,” Barber said. “No one else in the county is doing anything else.”


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