By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — The village is considering a pair of large-scale capital projects, one to comply with an audit’s requirements and the other to take advantage of a growing part of the local economy.
Medina’s water system recently underwent a regularly-scheduled audit by the Orleans County Department of Health, the findings of which were presented to the village board Monday by Medina Department of Public Works Superintendent Pete Houseknecht.
The report orders that an engineering study be swiftly prepared to determine whether the village’s three million gallon storage tank should be replaced or repaired after noting issues with the six-decade old tank.
The audit cited the condition of the tank, located at a high point southeast of the village off Maple Ridge Road, as clearly showing it’s age. Leaks from multiple cracks were reported, with water “flowing around the entire tank,” saturating the ground around the tank’s south side.
”The tank has clearly deteriorated further since the last (2009) sanitary survey,” the report reads. “This department can no longer consider this structure to be safe, or an acceptable component of the distribution system.”
Houseknecht said issue is more structural than sanitary, as no concerns were raised about the access points that deliver the village’s water from Niagara County; or for the quality and safety of that water.
The tank is used to boost water pressure during high-use periods in both Medina and Shelby, and as a back-up water source during a fire response situation.
“It’s a critical component of our water service,” Houseknecht said Tuesday, “it’s okay in the short-term, but we need repairs for the long term.”
The village has contracted with Larsen Engineers to complete a review of repair and replacement options, which Houseknecht said would be complete by the board’s next meeting. A plan of action will be decided on by May.
”If the tank is sound, it will cost less to repair than replace,” Houseknecht told the board. “If not, it’s a bigger capital project.”
Houseknecht said low-interest loans and grants for the replacement could be provided by the state’s Environmental Facilities Corporation.
The audit also cited a series of other needed repairs in its report, fixes that Houseknecht said were minor, like trimming an overflow pipe and replacing bolts at the village’s booster station building. Those will be completed when the spring comes.
• Houseknecht outlined another proposal Monday that would be a major capital project, although one motivated more by energy savings and economic benefit.
He explained to board members that leftover funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and state funding streams is available for the village to add a third digester at the wastewater treatment plant.
The addition would allow Medina to convert waste from food production sites, such as the yogurt producers in Genesee County, into energy for the plant and a revenue stream for the village. The village has two digesters that turn waste from village sources into methane that provides some of the energy for the wastewater plant’s boiler.
“We could power more of the (plant), lower our electricity use and keep sewer rates level,” Houseknecht said. “We should be able to fund more improvements.”
Houseknecht said it would cost about $5,000 to fund the application, which would be due later this year.Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.