STAMP sewer drilling paused after sinkholes observed in refuge right of way

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 September 2023 at 8:06 pm

Fluids associated with subsurface drilling also seen in refuge

BASOM – Contractors have paused drilling with the construction of a nearly 10-mile-long sewer line along Route 63 after sinkholes have been observed in the right of way of the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

There also are fluids associated with subsurface drilling that appeared on the refuge surface outside the perimeter of the right of way, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a statement this afternoon about the wastewater treatment pipeline for the Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP).

“Contractors working for Genesee County Economic Development Center have paused drilling activities,” according to the statement. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on the ongoing investigation.”

The sewer construction is the focus of a lawsuit from Orleans County, which alleges the Genesee County Economic Development Center didn’t properly form a subsidiary, STAMP Sewer Works, for the project, and doesn’t have a right to seek construction easements in Orleans, which is outside Genesee County, among several issues cited by Orleans with the project.

Orleans economic development officials also are concerned the discharge of treated water from STAMP, at up to 6 million gallons a day at full capacity, could limit economic development efforts in Medina by overtaxing the creek.

GCEDC notes engineering reports say there would be another 10 million of daily capacity for the creek from the Medina sewer plant if STAMP were at full capacity. The first two tenants at STAMP, Plug Power and Edwards Vacuum, would have a daily discharge of 50,000 gallons of treated wastewater GCEDC said.