The city has been awarded an approximate $3.5 million state grant to reduce groundwater infiltration into the sanitary sewer system, combating the impacts of water runoff that can overwhelm the city’s sewer system and cause “combined sewer overflows” or CSOs.
A chief goal of the $3,566,800 grant is provide better environmental protection for the city by making repairs to an existing, aging sewer line that extends from approximately Winnikee Avenue to High Street paralleling the Fall Kill Creek.
The city has been addressing potential sources of inflow and infiltration within the sanitary sewer collection system and is particularly focused on sewer overflows that discharge into the Hudson River when overcapacity occurs during storm events.
While Poughkeepsie is in compliance with all New York State regulations, the city is working to mitigate combined sewer overflows, and this an integral project in that strategy.
“We are grateful for this generous state grant, as it allows us to continue our work to address Poughkeepsie’s aging infrastructure while lessening our reliance on long-term borrowing in order to do so,” said Mayor Rob Rolison. Limiting long term borrowing continues to be an important aspect of our financial management plan. As prior bond issuances are retired, we look forward to declining debt service costs in coming years, and it is large grants for infrastructure projects like this one that have a tremendous positive impact on our community.”
Much of the City of Poughkeepsie’s sewer system is almost a century old. At the time it was built the best practice method of collecting sanitary sewage, rainwater runoff and industrial wastewater was to combine all of them in one pipe and bring it to the Water Pollution Control Plant. As is common with many waterfront cities around the world, this combined sewer method is still used in the older parts of the city.
The city operates under a state permit that regulates the discharge of wastewater from the Water Pollution Control Plant, as well as the discharge of Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO).
This sewer rehabilitation program will reduce the impacts of flooding during strong weather events by repairing, replacing or lining existing mains and manholes, the mayor said.
Mayor Rolison said the city is committed to improving operations at the City’s Waste Pollution Control Plant and eliminating the discharge of combined sewer into the Hudson River. The mayor noted the city already has spent millions of dollar making improvements in the water and sewer systems
“We will continue modernizing our system, in order to provide better environmental protections and use the latest technologies to foster green infrastructure,” Mayor Rolison said.
Last year Mayor Rolison formed a Climate Smart Communities Task Force, which successfully worked to win the city its bronze certification in June 2021 through the state Department of Environmental Conservation program. This important achievement will qualify the city for funding to support future climate-smart actions. The city also was selected as the host community for Cornell University’s fall 2021 Climate-adaptive Design studio. In partnership with Cornell students and DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program, the community is exploring design alternatives for more climate resilient and connected waterfront areas.