Medina mayor concerned STAMP sewer discharge in Oak Orchard reduces chances for projects in Orleans
This is an open letter to the Orleans County legislators. I was informed the NYS Department of Conservation approved the State Pollutant Elimination Discharge (SPDES) permit for the Genesee County Economic Development Center on Sept. 20 as it pertains to 1 million gallons per day of treated sanitary effluent from the STAMP site in the Town of Alabama.
It is important to note that the SPDES permit was issued for impacts up to 1 million and the full scope of GCEDC’s plan for STAMP calls up to 6 million gallons a day of treated sewage to be discharged from STAMP into Oak Orchard Creek.
The force main is currently designed and permitted for a maximum flow of 6 MGD. As developed, the STAMP sewer works project could impede our ability to service residents, businesses and the Medina Business Park.
It appears that three engineering firms were engaged by GCEDC. Project documents and correspondence suggest there are irregularities and omissions in the project design. There are also areas of concern listed in the SPDES permit that should be evaluated by a third-party consultant.
An independent evaluation should include all of the project scope and design documents including but not limited to the initial project design from one engineering firm, modeling of Oak Orchard Creek performed by another firm, and a February 2022 engineering review of the project scope in relation to hydraulic modeling of the creek in its present form.
It is incumbent upon officials to determine how the scope of the proposed project will support or erode our local waterways and/or infrastructure and either enhance or hinder our ability to deliver services across Medina, Ridgeway and Shelby in the future.
The February 2022 report provides some insight as to where the engineering firms diverge in their assessment of how STAMP’s discharge will impact soil erosion, citing flaws in the plan’s design which “shows no documentation or calculations of how the outfall was designed to avoid soil erosion.”
The review details:
- “…the outfall has not been adequately designed to avoid soil erosion.”
- “…the rip rap is too thin.”
- “The lack of proper lining thickness can lead to loss of stone protection over time.”
- “Without stone protection, the outfall will likely erode discharging sediment to Oak Orchard Creek.”
- “The outlet structure detail shown on the design drawing FM D-05R is incomplete.”
- “It is difficult to determine the outlet shape directly upstream of the outlet protection outside of the structure. This is important as it will determine the flow characteristics exiting the outlet.”
- “There is an existing ditch at the site of the force main outfall from a 24-inch stormwater culvert underneath South Gravel Road to drain into Oak Orchard Creek. Nowhere in the design drawings or design report is this flow accounted for. The design should show and/or explain how these existing stormwater flows are conveyed to Oak Orchard Creek after construction of the force main outlet structure.”
- “…the discharge from STAMP will not have an impact on the 100-year flood elevations or velocities downstream, but this discharge will likely have an impact on erosion near the force main outlet is design changes are not made.”
Medina recently invested $7.5 million to upgrade our wastewater facility. The investment was made to increase capacity to 9 million gallons a day in order to meet the current needs of residents, local businesses, and the Medina Business Park. Without these recent upgrades, there will be little or no potential for the village, Shelby, Ridgeway, county, or school district to realize future tax revenue from new businesses in Medina or the business park.
Our infrastructure does not have the capacity for an additional 6 MGD of wastewater from Genesee County. Before considering a project from outside Orleans County, that exceeds the Medina facility’s present capabilities, a thorough evaluation should take place relative to project details that exist that could compromise the existing infrastructure and require millions more in upgrades.
The Orleans Economic Development Agency has over 350 acres of certified shovel-ready land available in the Medina Business Park. Our business park has more available infrastructure than most business parks located between Niagara falls and Albany. Medina’s infrastructure capabilities play a significant role in the offerings OEDA and our regional economic development partners can promote to bring more commerce and industry to the state, region and county.
Four manufacturing plants and a hotel are now located in the MBP. Robust water, sewer, electric, gas and internet are available throughout MBP to attract more mid to large-scale operations.
The village, town, county and OEDA have spent the last 15-plus years expanding the infrastructure to better serve the community. A lot of time and money have gone into upgrades for the purpose of servicing local residents and businesses and to attract more business to Orleans County.
There is presently over $8 million in assessed value in the Medina Business Park. The OEDA and the village recently responded to multiple RFPs for new occupancy in the business park. MBP’s robust infrastructure specs have resulted in our business park being placed on a short list by site selector consultants. WNY Energy just completed a $38 million expansion. The Town of Shelby, Orleans County and Medina school district receive over $14 million in PILOT money from the ethanol plant alone, which is supplied with water and sewer from the village.
As elected officials, we are obligated to prioritize the available infrastructure for projects located within the county that support job retention and growth along with local sites that are capable of attracting new industries that will diversify the tax base, decrease the burden on our own taxpayers, and improve the quality of life for those who live and work in Orleans County.
I am requesting Orleans County officials, Orleans County Soil & Water, and an independent consultant not previously associated with the project perform a thorough evaluation of the project scope, design and discharge plan. A comprehensive assessment aimed at preserving both our waterways and infrastructure is in order given certain project details remain unclear and/or could impede our ability to provide services to residents and businesses in the future.
Mayor of Medina