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Guest Column: Mayor Gerry Messmer

“Odessa Water Quality, the elephant in the room”

The following is the sixth in a series of columns about life in Odessa written by Mayor Gerry Messmer.

ODESSA, Nov. 14, 2019 -- After a long three months being gone and recreating an 1825 journey, it sure is great to be back in Schuyler County. I was fortunate to see quite a bit of America at the grass roots level, yet I never saw anywhere I would rather live than right here in Odessa!

We have many things in the works that have been a long time coming and a lot of work by myself and the Village Board, along with all our partners who are supporting our efforts. The next couple years will see our village with a lot of construction going on. Today I will discuss three issues: water, sewer and Catlin Mill Creek.

First and foremost, the water. We all know Odessa has issues with the water and that it is damaging hot water heaters, washing machines and giving many of us brown laundry. However, it is important that everyone understands that our water, coming out of the well, is CLEAN and SAFE! We constantly test the water all year long and everyone receives a water quality report in the mail with the results. The contaminants in your water are iron and iron sludge as a result of decaying water lines where the cement lining is falling off. When this happens the iron pipes rust and you get the results in your pipes and out your faucet. The main water lines were installed in 1938 and have outlived their life expectancy.

The Village has partnered with an engineering firm, JHA Companies, who have completed a $40,000 grant to study the issues and design permanent fixes that will include new water lines and state of the art upgrades to the treatment plant. JHA Companies will meet with USDA on November 21st to ensure the Grant is complete for submission and overcome some internet glitches with the grant system. This is a rolling grant and we should have an answer by mid-February. If awarded, JHA would immediately begin studying and testing lines and doing the design work to repair the entire water system and design the upgrades to the treatment plant. We would expect the engineer design work to be completed by the end of summer 2020, followed by the RFP Process in the winter and construction to start in the spring of 2021. This is as fast as we can move the project. The cost to fix our lines and upgrade our treatment plant will be $1.5 million or less. If we can accelerate this, we will keep you posted.

The Business District Sewer System is moving along very fast! We are partnered with C&S Engineers and they are putting the finishing touches on the design work, finalizing construction requirements for different agencies and will be prepared to put the project out to bid in January. We expect to break ground on the project in the spring as soon as the weather allows. For those in the Sewer District, connecting your home or business to the system will be covered by the funding and not your expense. The system should be operational before snow flies next fall!

Finally, Schuyler County Soil and Water has confirmed that they will be submitting all the required permits to stabilize the banks of Catlin Mill Creek and to straighten out the flow of the creek so it goes directly under the bridge and not cut out the bank of the creek right behind Main Street. They expect work to begin in the spring as well.

Our Board Meetings are the third Monday of the month with the next one this Monday the 18th. Please feel free to attend the meetings.

--Gerry Messmer

Photo in text: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer

To see Mayor Messmer's first column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's second column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's third column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's fourth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's fifth column, click here.

© The Odessa File 2019
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869