Demo Site On Schedule

LITTLE VALLEY – When those spring and summer rainstorms fall, water runs across the pavement, picking up potential contaminants as it moves to a storm drain and into a retention pond. While in that pond, those contaminants may create problems in groundwater supply.

This is just one of the many things that municipal leaders, as well as the average citizen alike, can learn how to prevent using, what is believed to be, the only demonstration site in stormwater management. Officials are preparing for its May 22 opening, on the grounds of the Cattaraugus County Department of Public Works Department in Little Valley.

The facility, sprawling over 100 acres, is a joint venture between Southern Tier West, Cattaraugus County government and 26 other partner agencies that will offer best practices, as well as see how these methods hold up to the elements over time.

Work started Monday as excavators and volunteers worked to install various components of the demonstration site. A team of students from Alfred State College was on hand to install sections of pervious pavement sidewalks and sections that will mimic parking lot spaces to show what the material is, what it looks like and how it works. On the other side of the hill, heavy equipment was busy moving earth to create ideal practices for ditches, some varying in shape, others in liner material.

The best way for a ditch to be built is not effective unless an example of poor ditch design is nearby to compare. Poor practices will be a part of the site as well.

“What we want is a slow, control and filter of stormwater as it drains back into the ground,” said Joseph Pillittere, Cattaraugus County Public Works commissioner.

One of the biggest things that Ginger Malak, Southern Tier West senior regional development coordinator, said the site is designed to do is to show those that develop all of these methods for their municipalities is that they may be a bit more, in the way of cost, initially, but they will have a greater return for the environment and for the systems. Municipalities can decrease the amount of silt and erosion that flows into their sanitary sewers and ditches that result in more money and labor going into cleaning out the system annually, and in depth.

When the facility opens on May 22, Malak said she would like to see highway superintendents and crews, mayors, supervisors, municipal board members, planning board members, code enforcement officers, contractors and even the average homeowner. Even a homeowner can install a rain garden to help filter and return stormwater into the ground, she said.

Planning and zoning board members will be eligible for four hours of continuing education credits.

The initial portion of the project was paid for through a $37,050 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, and through donations from various companies throughout the region. Future development will include the construction of kiosks at each method of management to educate visitors on what the process is, how it works, what the construction cost is estimated to be and who donated the materials and time to install.

Since none of the demonstration site is contained in a fenced in area, visitors can come up and take a look at the methods at any time, according to Pillittere. He did say that tours can be had by those that call his office, 938-2483, to schedule.