It was an interesting meeting, reported upon in the Sentinel, the OD, WKTV, and News 10 Now.
It was admitted that 50% of the sewer users who will pay to fix the situation reside in Utica. However, no one representing Utica was invited to participate in the selection of the engineers who would study solutions. This omission was never adequately explained. The representative from Utica at the meeting voiced no protest, and had practically nothing to say.
The impression was made that this was a "storm water" problem and a "lack of maintenance" problem. However, while storm water management and proper maintenance will be part of the solution, it was the connection of separated sanitary sewers to a combined sewer overflow that caused the violations that DEC and EPA complained of (already pointed out in earlier posts on this subject).
Another impression was that a lot of people stand to make a lot of money from this problem -- and if things can be kept complicated, more work will be "justified." Beneficiaries/Participants present at this meeting were several engineering firms, two law firms, and a public relations outfit. Many ladles will be dipping into this big pot that rate payers will be tossing into.
A steering committee composed of residents and officials is going to be formed -- a good idea. But this begs the question, what is the role of the Sewer District Advisory Board? It almost sounds like a duplication. It was good to see that Concerned Citizens for Honest and Open Government is trying to be involved. Officials should be receptive to their participation.
Hopefully the steering committee idea will work out, and this problem will be resolved in a manner that is fair to all municipalities and sewer users. But with so many players involved, and with so much money to be made, the committee will have its work cut out.