Informational Meeting - North Ferry Street Pump Station
May 2, 2017
Pump Station = PS
Panelists: Mike Miller from CHA = MM; Fred Heitkamp, advisory committee = FH; Larry Schmidt, advisory committee = LS; Brad Fisher, Front St. neighbor = BF.
Paul LaFond, Commissioner of General Services in audience.
Comments: People love the Stockade and Riverside Park. To have this amenity in an urban neighborhood is very unique. Park is a tranquil setting. View of historic fences and rear lawns is beautiful. The City Council passed a resolution on January 26, 1998 supporting a "quiet place to view the natural beauty of the Mohawk River."
Why can't the existing PS be rebuilt and/or expanded?MM: There are too many challenges. Has historic protection according to SHPO. Hard to retrofit.Must be 235' above river level. Increased capacity requires different equipment. Can not have any "down time."
LS: Believes existing PS can be reused. Cites opinion & work of Jack McDonald, engineer who worked on PS previously. Possible to raise building & build new foundation.Mentions possibility of a movable lock being installed downstream by NYS in future.Mentions that some old mains are probably leaking & might need to be dug up to be replaced. MM says new technology would be used to fix them that does not require digging.
Will more sewage be coming? There may be more if the city grows, plus we take Scotia's.
Were other sites investigated? Other sites within Riverside Park were considered. Current site was cheapest alternative. No passing through private lands.
LS suggests these other sites: behind the Historical Society or the YWCA, the land is terraced down to the river. Near the Union College boat house on the east sedge of the park. In the East Front St. area. These locations are along the main pipe line. MM: the sites behind Washington Ave. properties would add to cost; would require a 15" pipe buried 15 - 20 feet, and would require digging in private lands.
Will the SEQR process be followed? MM: the Federal version will be followed - NEPA. The Governor's Office of Storm Recovery is coordinating the process. The contact name will be sent to Carol DeLaMarter.
Is the taking of park land allowed? MM: The NYS Legislature will need to pass legislation to permit this.
When will the latest revised design be available? MM: possibly in June
Could a PS be located on the island between the Stockade and Scotia Park? MM: that option was not considered.
Does the Mohawk Harbor development add to the overflow problem? MM: no, the problem existed well before that.
Was there an independent study done to access using the existing PS? No; the McDonald Engineering study was done before the city had a "master plan" which added/changed requirements.
What is the size of the new PS design? 65 x 45 feet.
Comments: Opposed to building a new PS because old can be retrofitted & continued to be used. A 4th bay can be used to increase capacity. Pumps work under water. Electronics can be raised. No conclusive evidence that hurricane caused cracking or shifting of building. Existing PS can be reinforced & reused.
DEC requires view shed study and mitigation to avoid negative impacts. Only adequate mitigation is to move out of park. This is a failure to mitigate.
MM: The Consent Order requires 3 items to be addressed: Improvements to the waste treatment plant (Anthony St.). Replace the PS. Install a new force main between PS and waste treatment plant. The new system needs to be monitored for 5 years to determine its success. If all goes well, the overflow valve at the ALCO site can be sealed. If not, more work will need to be done to further improve the system.
What advice did the advisory committee give?Reacted to site proposals. Reach out to people on Front St. who would be affected. Ask neighbors for view shed photos.
Will new sewer lines be needed?Depends on site selection. Pipes may follow bike path. New piping system.
Is the city "self-insured?" No.
How were members of the advisory committee chosen? Seems like the process was designed to preclude alternatives; predetermined; wants park preserved.
Are minutes or videotape of meetings available? No.
How did we go from FEMA refusing to pay for a new PS after Hurricane Irene in 2011 (they offered to pay only for repairing existing PS) to the present situation of Federal $ available for a new PS? The Consent Order from NYS came in 2014. Now there is $ available for a new PS.
Have the "non-monetary" costs been evaluated, such as environmental losses, park land losses, property value losses? No. Comment: The city should protect these things.
Can the new site be where the old bath house was?MM: No because it would be so high due to FEMA requirements.
How did SHPO select the proposed site? MM: because! Name of contact at SHPO will be provided to Carol.
What is the schedule of finishing the entire project? Paul LaFond will provide a schedule to Carol.
The city's waste water master plan will be provided to Carol. It was done by CDM Smith company.
Was a financial analysis done to compare alternate sites? No Paul LaFond will look into this. Comment by LS: City must do this study!
Comments by Vince Riggi, Councilman: voted against a new PS in 2014. Supports reusing existing PS. McDonald Engineering told him existing PS could be upgraded. Said he will accept comments from people.