FREDONIA, NY (WNY News Now) — Leaders in Northern Chautauqua County are considering potential changes to the village of Fredonia’s water system.
Recently, the network has been plagued by numerous issues. Officials say that in 2022, the system was nearly a million dollars in the red. Then, just over a month ago, residents were put under a boil water order due to quality concerns at the filtration plant.
Now, surrounding communities are getting involved.
On Sunday, Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas issued a letter suggesting that the village of Fredonia collaborate with the city to resolve the myriad of problems it’s facing.
The proposal includes the construction of a 4,000 foot long trunk line that would transport water from the city to the SUNY Fredonia campus, one of the municipality’s largest customers.
Dunkirk leaders say this project would provide adequate output, at a price that could solve the issue of expensive production at the reservoir in the town of Pomfret.
“We can do ten million gallons per day from our water plant. Right now we’re only producing three and a half,” Dunkirk’s Director of Public Works Randy Woodbury said. “The village might want to buy the water from Dunkirk at the wholesale rate of $3.84 per thousand [gallons], and what they charge the college or whatever could be something so they wouldn’t lose that customer.”
The proposal has gained mixed reaction from village officials. Trustee Jon Espersen, who at a special meeting in January advocated for sourcing water from the City of Dunkirk, urges his colleagues to consider all possible options.
“A decision has to be made of where our water source is going to be. That can has been kicked down the road for far too long now,” Espersen explained. “Dunkirk’s proposal is something that I think definitely deserves a closer look at.”
The approximately 1.3 million gallon daily consumption of the village, which has consistently resulted in a loss of money, has spurred a long-standing debate among the board.
Trustee Michelle Twichell argues that losses in revenue may be attributed not solely to high costs of production, but also to errors within the system.
“So far as us losing water, I’d like to take a look at our meters,” Twichell suggested. “We have meters in homes that are well over twenty years old. I think it would be a good idea to start looking at those old meters, because perhaps that’s where our information for losing water would be found.”
Administrators stress that this proposal is still in the very early stages, and will take a while to progress.
Leaders in both municipalities hope to receive support from the county to fund a study which could help advise them on the best solution.