Stormwater Techniques May Be Part Of Cattaraugus County Facility

SALAMANCA – A new demonstration facility may be a reality on the grounds of a Cattaraugus County department’s facility. Demonstrations will exemplify techniques of stormwater usage and mitigation, all the while, adding to the aesthetics of taxpayer property.

Stormwater treatment and mitigation is not something that is a new outreach for trainers at Southern Tier West. New techniques have pushed the need to educate municipalities on what the best policies and practices are, and many of those will be on display at the Cattaraugus County Public Works building in Little Valley, according to Ginger Malak, Southern Tier West trainer. The plan has met by county officials with open arms, she recently told the members of the Southern Tier West board.

Though no public disclosure of the cost of the project has been released yet, the funding would come from grants and in-kind donations, Malak said. A proposal to aid in the funding was submitted as part of the latest round of New York state CFA projects. It was not awarded.

Malak said the Works Committee of the Cattaraugus County Legislature met her request for use of approximately 2 acres behind the building on Jack Ellis Drive in Little Valley with “tremendous support.” That support continued with a resolution to allow the usage of the land for demonstration purposes, passed by the whole of the legislature.

“We have been involved right from the beginning,” said Joseph Pillittere, county public works commissioner. “The site for the demo is on our property and we will also be providing in-kind services as part of this project.”

In-kind services provided by the Cattaraugus County Department of Public Works would include materials, operators and equipment use at the facility, he said.

“The idea is to provide a demonstration site that individuals can visit to learn what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to stormwater management,” Pillittere continued. “Proper stormwater management can help prevent flooding of transportation corridors, property damage, stream and creek erosion, and pollution. The quote I like best is that we want to ‘mimic nature by integrating stormwater management into building and site developments to reduce the impacts on nature.’ The site can be used by contractors, municipalities, students and environmentalists. It would be open to individuals from Chautauqua, Allegany and Cattaraugus counties.”

The demonstration project is only one part of the storm water education plan. Malak said she and other staff members of Southern Tier West had conducted an educational training for officials of municipalities within the three-county area represented by Southern Tier West, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. The first seminar, held in May, was attended by 116 people, representing 74 participating municipalities, Malak said.

“I would have thought it was successful with maybe 50 people,” she said. “We well exceeded that number. I believe we will be having a second annual conference.”

The conference, as well as the demonstration site, are part of a three-year program, now in its second year. The program focuses on training and building capacity with municipal officials and superintendents. The program is designed to aid the officials in understanding the importance of stormwater and its treatment, Malak said. Part of the process for the program involves a full inventory of the hydrology pieces in the area, such as culverts and other storm equipment. The inventory will include a full mapping and condition report for the region.

“We not only want these people to know how to deal with storm water, we also want them to understand what it is, what is in it, and what it can do,” Malak said.