OSWEGO — City officials are seeking more than $7.5 million in state grant funds and plan to borrow nearly $25 million to complete upcoming water and wastewater improvements, much of which is part of the ongoing consent decree to separate the city’s sanitary and storm sewer systems.
The city of Oswego entered into a judicial consent decree with the federal government and New York State in May 2010, with the order requiring the city to separate at least 75 percent of the combined sewer and storm water system at an estimated cost of more than $80 million. With roughly half the work complete, officials are preparing to enter the final phases of the years-long project and lining up funding to complete the work.
The consent decree was initially ordered because of what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) called “long-standing problems with unpermitted sewer overflows.” The city’s wastewater and storm water drainage infrastructure were combined in one system, and heavy rainfall would cause a combination of rain and sewage to discharge into the Oswego River.
The consent decree obligated the city to separate at least 75 percent of its combined sewer system, according to the EPA, in addition to taking corrective actions throughout the overall sewer collection and treatment systems.