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Water service to Outer Harbor being expanded for future development

Buffalo is getting more water service to the Outer Harbor, making certain there is enough water for any future development.

The city has extensive water service beyond Fuhrmann Boulevard, running from the Coast Guard station down to the Lackawanna city line, with the water line connecting at Ohio Street to the main system. There was a line under the City Ship Canal at Michigan Avenue until a dredging job pulled up the pipe with bottom sludge.

Now, the plan is for a 16-inch plastic pipe to be placed in a rock tunnel to be drilled under the canal and connected to the city system. Public Works Commissioner Steven Stepniak said the new line will maintain better water service.

"At this point, we have to run a line all the way down Ohio Street and cut over by Fuhrmann Boulevard," said Stepniak. "What we have with our system that gives us such a strength is the redundancy in areas throughout the city. This will allow us for water quality. This will allow us to increase the capacity out there for any future development."

Stepniak said construction should start in September and take about six months to complete. That includes connection to the existing pipe. He said the plastic pipe will be pushed into the drilled hole in 50-foot lengths and fused together.

"It's leak-proof and pressure-proof. It's a very effective method in doing that," Stepniak said. "And to have access to those for those valves. There'll be large valves placed at either pit. There'll be a valve, an extended valve box, which will allow employees of the Water Department to gain access through just a shut off system from a top or higher-level area. No man holes that would go down 60 feet."

While the low bid has not been approved, the low bid for the installation was about $1.3 million. On top of that, there is about $400,000 in engineering and design costs.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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